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Nitish silent on poll outcome

Patna, Dec. 8: Silence was Nitish Kumar’s reaction to the rout of the Congress, which had bailed it out soon after the BJP-JD(U) alliance broke barely six months ago.

However, insiders in the JD(U) felt that the party is unlikely to cosy up to the Congress after what it saw as “manifestation” of people’s anger against the latter.

“The results have brought to the fore two broad trends — the electorate in general is angry with the Congress. And, the BJP’s prime ministerial candidate, Narendra Modi, is not as big a factor as the BJP has projected him,” said a source close to Nitish. “Had Modi been a factor, his party would have convincingly won Delhi too,” he added.

The source elaborated how Nitish had been “analysing” the outcome in Delhi. “The Delhi results have proved that the people were angry with the Congress because of the price rise, charges of corruption among others. But the electorate did not accept the BJP, which had Modi campaigning in every other corner, as an alternative. Rather, they opted for the Aam Admi Party (AAP) as a platform to express their indignation against the Congress.”

Thus, as of now, the party, which dumped the BJP’s company on June 16, is learnt to be planning to “drop the idea” of befriending the “discredited” Congress, rejected by the people in the four states and play on its own strength. “We have a chief minister who still has a strong image at the state and national levels. He broke company with the BJP on certain principles. I believe that we should go it alone in the Lok Sabha elections,” JD(U) Rajya Sabha MP Ali Anwar said.

Many senior JD(U) strategists had the words of praise for the AAP. “We are still distinct in the state as our chief minister has a clean and performing image. Maintaining an equidistance with the BJP and Congress, we should try to involve more cadres and people in our affairs and go to the electorate on our own strength,” said a JD(U) MP.

What, however, has still kept the party anxious is also the “realisation” is Bihar is neither like urban Delhi nor like Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh which still have a “bipolar” political paradigm with the BJP and Congress pitted against each other and least existence of any third player. “What is clear, as of now, is the once mighty Congress which lost its clout at the grounds level in the last over 20 years has little possibility of resurrecting itself in the state. Modi too will not be a big factor in Bihar but the battle in the state will revolve round the three entrenched forces — the JD(U), RJD and BJP,” said a political observer.

As usual, the BJP today demanded resignation of Nitish for his party’s poor performance in Delhi. “Nitish has fielded 27 candidates. Most of them have forfeited their deposits despite Nitish aggressively campaigned for them. He must resign owning the responsibility of his party’s defeat,” state BJP chief Mangal Pandey said.

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