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Where the dread of a cat makes the mice unite.

 Where Nitish appears to succeed, others had drastically failed.

 Vivekanand Jha Ranchi: Nitish Kumar must be a happy man after his winding up of the recent tour to Delhi. Regardless of the consequences of his efforts attaining the distinct objective, he must have the minimum satisfaction of unfolding a new vision before the nation: The first step taken towards forging the unity among the opposition leaders. Unequivocally, the most daunting challenge dogging Nitish Kumar is to consensually work out the face of the opposition to take on the mighty Narendra Modi, and here, irrespective of his strategic deliberation with opposition leaders from across the spectrum, it has finally yielded in cul-de-sac. Unfortunately for Nitish Kumar, his postures galore notwithstanding, the elephantine hubris of the regional satraps who, in the wake of Narendra Modi’s ascendancy from the power citadel of Gujarat, invariably look upon themselves as the prospective faces of prime minister. And here Nitish Kumar’s all manoeuvring skills were readily deployed to put the paramount question of leadership into abeyance for bringing the opposition under particular platform.

Willy nilly Nitish Kumar has succeeded in giving jitters to BJP, for BJP dread none in the opposition as much as it has begun getting frightened of Nitish Kumar’s political acumen to bring the disparate oposition together. And there is an obvious reason for the same: Nitish Kumar had worked with Atal Bihari Vajpayee, the former prime minister, and had personally experienced Vajpayee’s managing the coalition of eighteen parties. Moreover, paying a glowing tribute to his former boss, Nitish Kumar wrote a piece in Indian Express, emphasising upon the techniques he had learnt from Ataljee and claimed to have implemented them in governing the state of Bihar. Thus, this handling of coalition politics, the rampant pressure techniques of negotiating with myriad pressure groups which Nitish had seen Ataljee managing with aplomb, is the cause of the confidence of Nitish Kumar that he can do what others had failed to achieve, and is also disproportionately disconcerting for BJP as it dreads Nitish’ coalition skills to consolidate the splintered opposition which is in existence today.

Another most important factor which has begun causing the nightmare to BJP is this: in the caste ridden state of Bihar, where caste identity plays the pivotal role for politicians, Nitish Kumar’s conspicuous USP has been that of his hailing from Kurmi caste which hardly constitutes 2 percent of total population, yet Nitish Kumar, through his political shenanigans brought about by social engineering, social re-engineering, where he carved out the most backward caste, sequestering a section of people away from backward caste, constituted his trusted vote bank. All this political chicanery could enable Nitish Kumar to straddle power for three consecutive terms–abandoning BJP, taking RJD to bosom; abandoning RJD and taking BJP to bosom, and then somersaulting yet again recently: rebuilding alliance with RJD and dumping BJP in the process. This mastermind technique of retaining power as per his discretion–choosing his own alliance, while seeking vote on different combination–makes him tower over the polity and all political combination. Significantly, none ever made the constitution look so helpless to contain him as Nitish Kumar has. In other words, if anyone can dare to call himself real Chanakya, it is not anyone else but Nitish Kumar. And therefore, BJP more than anyone else, fears Nitish Kumar as the biggest hurdle towards its return to power in 2024.

Nitish has concluded his Delhi visit with good amount of success, which is unambiguously obvious from the attacks he is facing from BJP. His meeting the most of the opposition leaders on a singular agenda of seeking the unity among the opposition leaders has already made BJP jittery, for the unity in opposition which is an Achilles hill in contemporary times, if accomplished, will send the chill down the spine of BJP, for the collective opposition fighting against the BJP runs the severe risks of upsetting the latter’s applecart. Yet there is a silver lining for BJP: The prime ministerial face to take on Modi, might continue to elude the opposition. This is the historic challenge for Nitish Kumar: to work out a consensus for the prime ministerial face. This apart, Nitish Kumar meeting almost the topmost leaders of opposition in Delhi, culminating in his meeting with Sharad Pawar is a good beginning. Apparently, the enthusiasm evinced by almost all whom Nitish Kumar met, including Arvind Kejriwal, proved satisfactory. Besides, the upcoming shareing of dais by Manata, Nitish Kumar, Chautala in a public meeting in Haryana is another evidence of how opposition feel the dire necessity of coming together to fight BJP with a renewed vigour and newly discovered energy. Thus Nitish Kumar has succeeded in conveying the message to the oposition that, united they survive, divided they continue to risk being the target of various national agencies like CBI and ED. No wonder, it is this dread of central agencies with which almost all opposition leaders are at the receiving end today, might be the pivot for the opposition unity, where Nitish Kumar is proving to be the cog in the wheel, for, where Mamata and Sharad Powar failed to make an impact, Nitish’ visit to Delhi continued to make the national news. This proves that how the nation is looking forward to a stronger opposition to safeguard India’s democracy.

Vivekanand Jha, author of Delhi Beckons: RaGa for NaMo, 56 Inches and The Making of Narendra Modi, Unmaking of Jawaharlal.

Vivekanand Jha, author, academician and a Public Intellectual. He is the Convener of Education pe Charcha.

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