Nobody else can occupy the PMs post Now nobody has the strength to beat Modi, No one can beat Modi (in the 2019) general elections” said Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar just a few days after he snapped ties with the Mahagathbandhan (Grand Alliance).
That’s something Nitish had realized, and that could be the primary reason for his exit from the Grand alliance. The emergence of Benami properties, IT raids on Lalu Prasad’s family members seem to be last nail on the coffin; that actually provided Nitish the perfect reason to justify his decision.
An astute politician as he is, Nitish knew it well that the Mahagatbandhan, was nothing but a sinking ship. Going by the trend, let alone winning, even posing any serious challenge to Modi in 2019, is only hope against hope. Though many in media speculated that Nitish would be face of this Mahagathbandhan to challenge Modi led NDA in the 2019 general elections- interestingly, the grand alliance partners never made it clear- Nitish must have also known it well, that the grand alliance would try the maximum to use his (Nitish’s) clean image and secular credentials to oust Modi, but would never make him the PM in the eventually that the Mahagathbandhan won the mandate to rule the country. Because, in such an eventuality, the Congress with Lalu’s backing would stake claim for Rahul. Though other members of the alliance are important players, they have no voice, or they would be forced to toe the Cong- RJD line. If anyone understood Lalu and the Congress, better than others, it’s Nitish.
Therefore, the biggest challenge before Nitish was his own survival. For once he was made the face of the alliance, it would not be possible for him to come back to Bihar politics; Lalu, at least,- Nitish must have understood- would ensure that. Lalu is a hard bargainer, and in the current phase when almost half of his family members are entangled in the IT cases, he would do get the best deal-save the family members as well as ensure them plum positions in the political hierarchy.
An able administrator-Nitish had brought sanity to Bihar after the madness of lawlessness effected under Lalu-Rabri raj. A man of few words, Nitish maintains a very low profile and allows his good work do the talking. As the Railway minister in the Vajpayee government, he is the one who had prepared the groundwork for a complete turnaround of the national carrier. A couple of years later, his friend turned foe-turned friend and now enemy, Lalu entered the Rail Bhawan and reaped all the fruits of Nitish’ good work of Nitish and made a conscious effort to rebrand himself as the turnaround-man of the Railways.
A retired bureaucrat who had the opportunity to work under both Nitish and Lalu in the Rail ministry, recalled, “Nitish is very efficient, always focused to his job, doesn’t mince a word. As a minister, he took decisions keeping the long term future of the railways in mind. On the contrary, Lalu is very media savvy and a terrific marketing man.”
Lalu should remember that quality is permanent, only marketing gimmick can’t sell a poor product, for long. Politics is no different.