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Nitish Kumar trying hard to prove he’s the boss in Bihar
The JDU says there might be several faces in the NDA, but in Bihar, the only face is that of Nitish. No BJP leader is denying this, but sources say the JDU is now demanding the old formula of seat sharing. The party is said to be pressing for 25 seats
The BJP top brass is trying to find a counter move against the manoeuvring of its ally in Bihar, the JDU. It was to reach an amicable solution that Amit Shah had a meeting with the LJP’s Ram Vilas Paswan last Sunday. When the core team of the JDU was meeting in Patna, Shah was in talks with Paswan. After the meeting, Paswan said they discussed the issues of changes in the SC/ST Act, reservation in promotion for Dalits, and special status for Bihar. But in all likelihood, the core agenda was to discuss the political situation in the State.
The BJP leaders are, in fact, said to be brainstorming over an appropriate reaction to Nitish Kumar’s latest move. After the meeting of the core team, the JDU said there might be several faces in the NDA, but in Bihar, the only face is that of Nitish. No leader of the BJP is denying this, but sources say the JDU has demanded implementation of the old formula of seat sharing. The party is said to be pressing for 25 seats.
This must be noted that the JDU used to fight on 25 seats and the BJP used to get only 15 seats under the old formula. For the Assembly Elections, the old formula was: 142 seats for the JDU and 101 for the BJP. However, the equation has changed now. At present, the BJP has 23 MPs; the LJP has six, and the RLSP has three. In this scenario, the old formula can’t be implemented.
After the JDU’s latest move, there are two speculations: Either Nitish is creating pressure for more seats in the Assembly Elections or he is ready to part ways with the BJP. But the question is where will he go from here? His party leaders say he could either go back to the RJD, as many of its old leaders say that if Nitish wants to come back, he will be welcomed. The other alternative would be to create a third front taking the Dalits and EBCs along. The BJP’s other partner, the RLSP, could also be a part of this front. If Nitish chooses this option, the BJP will not have any problem. Amid all these twists and turns, the politics of Bihar has become interesting.
RLSP IS PLAYING IT SMART
The other partner of the BJP, the RLSP, is also in action. Upendra Kushwaha has again raised the demand for special status for Bihar and has also said that the seat-sharing process should be complete right now. During the last elections, Kushwaha had got three seats and had won all — a 100 per cent result.
Though one of his MPs, Arun Kumar, parted ways with the RLSP, it is a fact that Kushwaha’s vote bank is still intact. To keep a tab on Kushwaha, the BJP has taken in Samrat Chaudhary, who had joined Jitan Ram Manjhi’s party after leaving the RJD. Probably this is why Kushwaha is apprehensive of the BJP’s future stand. And it could also be why he wants immediate seat-sharing details from the BJP. This is interesting that in the present political scenario of Bihar, Kushwaha is in the most comfortable position. He is with the BJP, he is a Minister at the Centre, and to keep him along, the BJP could still give him two or three seats. On the other hand, the RJD is also ready to welcome him. When Lalu Prasad was admitted in AIIMS, it was Kushwaha who had met him first. Apart from this, if any third front is formed in Bihar, ie if Nitish takes an initiative, then he would also wish to take Kushwaha along.
REGIONAL PARTIES TAKE LEAD
Regional parties of the country are gearing up to show their strength just like they did at the oath-taking ceremony of HD Kumaraswamy in Bengaluru on May 23. At that time, the regional kshatrapas had gathered there only to pose for photographs, but they are now all set to hold a conference in Delhi to discuss the political scenario and the possibility of a Mahagathbandhan.
It is being said that Andhra Pradesh CM Chandrababu Naidu has taken the initiative for this. In fact, Naidu wants all Opposition parties to meet in Delhi when the Monsoon Session of Parliament begins. Naidu will, in fact, host the conference. This is the first time in Indian politics that a South Indian leader is taking an initiative for an alliance and leading it too. Earlier, leaders of North India used to do the same. But that initiative always happened to be against the Congress. However, this is being said that the Congress will join the proposed conference of regional parties.
There are speculations of an alliance between the Congress and AAP, and probably AAP will also be a part of the conference. This will be a big rainbow gathering of the Opposition leaders, wherein many leaders, who are foes in politics, will sit at the same table. On one hand, leaders from the TMC as well as the Left will be present, and on the other hand, leaders of the SP and BSP will also sit across each other.
Four regional parties of South India — the TDP, JDS, TRS, and DMK — will participate in the conference. People are saying that the strategy for the General Elections will be discussed. The Opposition parties have to decide where they will go for pre-poll alliances and where they will opt for post-poll alliances. Which party will go with whom in which State and which party will silently support whom — a consensus can be made on these issues also.
CONG’S FINANCIAL CRISIS
Data of political donations made in the past few years has been made public, and it has become clear that donations for the Congress have been fast dwindling. The BJP is getting much more than what all parties are getting jointly. For the Congress, however, decreasing donations and not being in power have led to a grave financial crisis.
This is being said that the Congress will soon be resorting to crowdsourcing, which means it will appeal to common people for funds so that its routine work is not hampered. This must be noted that the AAP had also mobilised good funds from crowdsourcing. It can’t be said whether the Congress will manage that much money or not. Before asking from people, the Congress has appealed to its MLAs, MPs, former MLAs, and former MPs to donate money.
Recently, there was news that the office of the Congress would be sealed as the construction company had not been paid. To make a payment of Rs 55 lakh to the company, the party asked its former MLAs and MPs to donate anything from Rs 50,000 to Rs 1 lakh. In the same manner, an appeal had been made to other States also. The Congress leaders are hopeful that after Karnataka results, the party will make a comeback and that is why people have started donating money to the party. This is also a fact that the donation process has become difficult after the electoral bond, as the Government is keeping an eye on all donations.
STRATEGY FOR THREE STATES
The BJP is gearing up for the Lok Sabha and Assembly Elections in three new States on priority basis. The party is seeing big gains in Odisha, West Bengal, and Andhra Pradesh, and that is why it is paying special attention to them. In all three States, outsiders have a special place in the BJP’s strategy. The party is ready to take in either leaders of other parties or even non-political faces. The BJP might apply the same strategy in Tamil Nadu as well.
The BJP is devising a new strategy for Andhra Pradesh as Chandrababu Naidu has gone his own way. Earlier, it was being said that the BJP was in talks with Jaganmohan Reddy of the YSR Congress and this was the reason why Naidu broke away. But now it seems that the BJP is not taking Jagan along either. The party might go for a post-poll alliance with Jagan, but a pre-poll tie-up seems difficult as the BJP leaders think the anti-corruption issue will be hampered. So now, the party has its eye on Pawan Kalyan, who has formed the Jana Sena Party, and there is a possibility that the BJP will go into an alliance with them.
In the same manner, the BJP is being experimental in West Bengal. The party had roped in many filmstars and is now said to be keen on bringing Sourav Ganguly into the fold. In Odisha, the
BJP has almost decided to project Dharmendra Pradhan as the CM candidate, but has also roped in Jay Panda, who recently quit the Biju Janata Dal.
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