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[29 Oct 2010 | View Comments | ]
BJP – A House Divided

BJP in Bihar is plagued with the same problem that is troubling it at the Centre: infighting. The state unit is a divided lot. Just like at the Centre, leaders are busy fighting among themselves instead of fighting the opposition. What is peculiar to BJP however is that those who are unhappy, sulk, and harm the party from inside, instead of walking out. Origins of dissension within state BJP though could also be traced to its inability to stand up to the pressures exerted by its dominant partner, JDU. From being the leader of the opposition through out the RJD rule to becoming the deputy Chief Minister, Sushil Modi has always played second fiddle. Not many would remember that JDU started off as a junior partner in NDA alliance in its previous avatar of “Samata Party”. Slowly it consolidated its position and took on the role of ‘big brother’ in the alliance after the separation of Jharkhand from Bihar. Some people would recall the first reshuffle of the Nitish government in Bihar, where non performing Ministers were dropped from cabinet. BJP was forced to drop a couple of its Ministers even though they were performing well to appease Nitish Kumar. The portfolios of all its other Ministers too, except the Deputy CM were reshuffled. Sushil Modi was accused of being hand in glove with Nitish and internal revolt started brewing from there on, both in JDU and BJP. While Nitish was able to crush internal dissent within JDU with an iron hand, Modi neither had the inclination nor the wherewithal to the act decisively, leaving the problem to fester. In the present Bihar Elections BJP has become the weak link in the NDA chain.

Elections »

[18 Oct 2010 | View Comments | ]
Why is Nitish wary before the crucial Elections in Bihar?

On the face of it, JDU seems to be sitting pretty. Its Chief Minister, Nitish Kumar has swept an impressive list of awards during his tenure including Business reformer of the year award by ET (2009), Indian of year award by NDTV (2009) & CNN-IBN(2008), Best Chief Minister award by CNN-IBN, HT (2007) etc..The opposition claims that much of the development is an urban phenomenon and the conditions of the rural masses have only worsened. Their hope is that the rural population will not be swayed by the development agenda of Nitish Kumar and will vote on traditional issues of caste alignment and will even punish Nitish for his elitism. Behind the bonhomie and confidence of Nitish Kumar, his tension too is palpable thanks largely to the drubbing that NDA got during the last bye-elections held in 2009 where it could muster just 5 (JDU-3, BJP-2) out of 18 seats and the RJD-LJP combine notched up 9 seats and Congress 2 seats. But in a way the defeat has also served as an early warning signal to him and prevented him from going overboard in trumpeting his achievements. In fact he shrewdly refers to his own failure in the energy sector by declaring it as his next priority if he wins this election. He also contrasts his 5 years of rule with the 15 years of RJD and 40 years of Congress and calls his governance as work still in progress.