Will Nitish Kumar Switch Sides Again? Bihar Politics Heats Up as INDIA Bloc Fractures

New Delhi: Growing tensions within the INDIA bloc allies of Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar have raised the possibility of his return to the BJP fold. The opposition is actively working to prevent such a shift.

RJD president Lalu Prasad’s daughter, Rohini Acharya, criticized Kumar for what she perceived as frequent ideological shifts. This came after Kumar took a swipe at parties promoting family members in politics. Meanwhile, a BJP leader familiar with state politics emphasized that the party’s decisions would be based on future political imperatives rather than past bitterness.

The BJP, showing signs of warming up to Kumar, has toned down criticism and even praised him, with Union Home Minister Amit Shah expressing openness to the possibility of Kumar returning to the BJP-led alliance. Earlier, Shah had maintained that doors were closed for Kumar’s return.

Kumar’s discontent within the INDIA bloc stems from a perceived lack of recognition and a preference for an early assembly poll, which hasn’t found favour with the RJD. Internal tensions between JD(U) and RJD leaders have escalated, fueled by concerns that the RJD is undermining Kumar both in governance and politics.

Kumar’s strategic move to assume the JD(U) party president role is seen as an effort to assert control amid speculation of a confidant’s perceived closeness to the RJD. The RJD, in a conciliatory gesture, accepted the relegation of Education Minister Chandra Shekhar to a less significant portfolio after earlier tensions.

However, the INDIA bloc faces internal challenges, with West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Singh Mann announcing their parties, TMC and AAP respectively, will go solo in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections.

The BJP views signs of disconnect among INDIA parties in Bihar favourably, recalling the alliance’s previous defeat in the 2015 assembly polls before Kumar rejoined the BJP-led NDA, leading to success in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls. Kumar’s critics question his political influence, setting the stage for intriguing political dynamics as elections approach.

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