Odisha News Insight

5 Key Challenges for Nitish Kumar after Bihar Victory

Lalu-NitishYes, he is the ‘Man of the Moment’ today. By taking full advantage of the association with Lalu Yadav, Nitish Kumar has staged a comeback and decimated the Modi-led BJP in the recently concluded assembly polls. Nitish scripted history, as he won 178 out of 243 seats along with RJD and Congress. But, the roads are not smooth for Nitish, who is always known for ‘Good Governance’.

As the political strategy and aggression used by Narendra Modi and Amit Shah miserably failed in Bihar, Nitish emerged as a Hero. But, should he be happy as before? Nitish is not new to power corridor. This is his third successive term as the Chief Minister of Bihar. But, 2015-20 will be the toughest phase of his political career. Let’s discuss why.

1. Growing Influence of Lalu Yadav

Nitish always played the role of a Boss when he was with the BJP for 9 years. He was the driving force in the coalition and always had his way. Even, Nitish managed to prevent Narendra Modi from campaigning in the state during the polls. That was his influence. However, the situation has completely changed now.

The fear of imminent defeat brought Nitish and Lalu closer and both parties contested in 101 seats each. Remember, JD(U) had won 115 seats in 2010 on its own. Now, the party has been forced to play the second fiddle to Lalu Yadav’s RJD. Lalu’s party has 80 MLAs and can bulldoze Nitish at any point of time. JD(U) has 71 MLAs, while Congress has 27. When he starts to govern, Nitish will definitely miss the good old days of 2005-2013 when he was in NDA.

2. Doubts on Good Governance

If we believe the rumours and speculations, three of Lalu Yadav’s children are all set to have strong influence in the new government. One of them could be the Deputy CM too. Misa Bharti, Tejprarap Yadav and Tejaswi Yadav will rule the roost, making things difficult for ‘Uncle’ Nitish Kumar. As RJD will have 16 Cabinet Ministers and everyone is aware of their criminal and corrupt background, it would be an herculean task for Nitish Kumar to handle them and provide good governance.

3. Law & Order Problem

In less than 24 hours of winning the Bihar polls, the RJD supporters indulged in violence, arson and wild display of weapons in public. At least 4 people were killed in various parts of the state in violence. In the last three days, there have been incidents of rape of a Dalit minor, dacoity, abduction, murder, loot and other crimes. It would be up to Nitish Kumar to control the situation and convince the people that Jungle Raaj won’t return to Bihar.

With 96 MLAs facing serious criminal charges such as murder and kidnapping, and majority of them from the RJD, Nitish would be having sleepless nights to ensure peace and calm on the streets of Bihar. Yes, he had changed the scenario while he was with his junior partner BJP, which always took his orders. But, Lalu at the helm, it would be interesting to see how he handles the situation.

4. Relations with Centre

We have already seen it in Delhi. The bitter war of words between GOI and Arvind Kejriwal, has almost ruined the development in Delhi. Call it ‘ego clash’ or ‘fight for supremacy’, the centre-state relation in Delhi, has reached a bottom low. Although Bihar is completely different from Delhi in terms of power and politics, the state would need active support from the centre to carry out its development agenda.

But, the bitter relations between PM Modi and Nitish Kumar, would be a big setback to Bihar’s development agenda unless they mend ways and work towards the common goal. Everything will depend on how Nitish Kumar takes things forward and whether he focuses on Bihar or supports the anti-Modi agenda of Lalu Yadav, Congress and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP).

5. Anti-Congress Sentiments

Narendra Modi came to power at the centre in 2014, riding high on the anti-Congress mood in the country. Even, BJP won states like Maharashtra, Haryana, Jharkhand and Jammu & Kashmir where Congress was in power alone or with allies. BJP’s rise in several Congress bastions in the recent local bodies in Karnataka and Kerala have proved beyond doubt that people of India are still upset with the Congress even though they are with regional parties.

Congress won 27 out of 41 seats in Bihar, not because of its popularity or rising strength. They won because of Nitish and Lalu, who left no stones unturned to work for the victory of Congress candidates and stopped division in votes. Congress got more than what it expected even though its star campaigner Rahul Gandhi was not very much active in the state initially.

If anti-Congress sentiments does not decline and the party loses in Assam, Nitish Kumar would face further problems. People in Bihar would start doubting his governance model if he keeps allying with RJD and Congress at that point of time.

There is little doubt that Nitish Kumar is an honest man and always worked towards development of Bihar. He never failed in his duty. But, can he cope up with the pressure mounting from all sides? It would be interesting to wait and see how Nitish handles the situation and whether he emerges victorious or not!

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