Nitish has a history of swimming against the tide

Nitish has a history of swimming against the tide
When the Janata Dal (United) decided to support the NDA presidential candidate Ramnath Kovind, it came as a pleasant surprise to many political pundits, but those who have read Nitish well were not amused one bit.

Reason: This was not the first time that Nitish was taking a decision contrary to general belief or perception. A day before the Opposition was slated to meet in New Delhi under the leadership of Congress president Sonia Gandhi on June 22, the JD (U)’s decision to go along with the NDA nominee has taken the wind out of Opposition's sails. Ironically, it was Nitish who persuaded Sonia in April to field an Opposition candidate for presidential polls but later back-tracked. First, he skipped her luncheon meeting on May 26, then a day later he had lunch with his arch-rival Narendra Modi; and now when the Opposition was all set to announce a joint candidate to challenge Kovind, Nitish decided to ditch Sonia again.

But if one looks into the political journey of Nitish, the JD (U) chief has surprised one and all. During the 1977 polls when all the proteges of JP (as veteran Socialist Jaya Prakash Narayan was fondly called), including Lalu Prasad and Ram Vilas Paswan, won, Nitish was defeated. Similarly, during 1985 Bihar Assembly elections, when all the Janata Party stalwarts lost the polls (held in the aftermath of Indira Gandhi’s assassination), Nitish won.

The biggest surprise in recent times was when he, despite being in the NDA, supported Pranab Mukherjee as President, who, in 2012, was a UPA nominee against NDA candidate PA Sangma. More recently, when all the Opposition leaders were after Modi’s blood on the issue of demonetization, Nitish came out in support of Modi, with whom he has a decade-old rivalry. Not only Nitish backed Modi on this issue, he appealed to the Prime Minister to launch a crackdown on benami property as well. “If you really want to hit at black money, launch a crackdown on benami property,” Nitish said without taking names of Lalu Prasad or any other politician.

Some Opposition leaders may have favoured Nitish as the rallying point for all those who are opposed to the BJP, but Nitish has surprised them by standing by the saffron party with whom he remained as an alliance partner for 18 years. No wonder, Nitish supported Modi when Opposition questioned surgical strike last year. Modi reciprocated Nitish’s gesture when this year in Patna the Prime Minister lauded Nitish for strictly enforcing prohibition. “Only someone of Nitish’s stature could have brought in such social revolution,” Modi showered encomiums on Bihar CM, with whom his rivalry is well known.

Liked the story?

  • 0

    Happy
  • 0

    Amused
  • 0

    Sad
  • 0

    Frustrated
  • 0

    Angry