Reports of JD(U)’s growing rift with the BJP became evident on Monday as Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar skipped the NITI Aayig meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. This was the fourth meeting called by the Centre since July 17 that Kumar preferred to stay from.
While Kumar cited post-COVID debility for skipping the Delhi meeting, he attended a couple of events the same day in Patna.
Kumar’s run-in with the BJP is not new, but the recent exit of RCP Singh from his party seems to have acted as the last straw in the already strained relations between the allies.
Here are five big reasons which are believed to have triggered the purported political crisis in offing:
Nitish Kumar wants Bihar Assembly Speaker Vijay Kumar Sinha removed. The chief minister has lost his temper on Sinha more than once and also accused him of violating the Constitution by questioning the government. The absence of Kumar’s name from the invites sent out by the Assembly Speaker, belonging to the BJP, for Vidhan Sabha centenary celebrations was also seen by the JD(U) as a snub.
Kumar is also upset over the BJP offering toke representation to allies as Union ministers. He rejected the one berth offered in the Union Cabinet in June 2019 and hit back by including eight of his party colleagues in Bihar’s expanded Cabinet and left one vacant for the BJP.
Former JD(U) president RCP Singh taking a spot in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s cabinet last year without consulting Kumar aggravated the already strained ties. Singh later quit the party, making a sharp attack on Kumar as he said there was no cure to jealousy. “Nitish Kumar will not become Prime Minister in any of his seven lives,” he had said.
CM Nitish Kumar wants a larger say in choosing BJP ministers in Bihar cabinet. The move, however, would undermine Union Home Minister Amit Shah’s grip on the state through the selection of ministers seen as close to him. Let’s understand this with the example of Sushil Modi, the former deputy CM of Bihar who was moved out of Bihar by the party leadership.
Kumar has been vocal about the Centre’s policies and affairs concerning the state. During the recent violent protests over Agnipath, Nitish Kumar remained silent on the issue while the senior leaders of his party including Upendra Kushwaha and Lalan Singh urged the centre to have a dialogue with the protesters.
Earlier this year, the state unit of the BJP agreed to Kumar’s unperturbed demand of a caste-based census in Bihar, for which he had led an all-party delegation to meet PM Modi earlier this year.
The JD(U) chief is also against BJP’s proposal of holding state and national elections simultaneously. The idea of simultaneous elections to the states and the parliament was pitched by PM Modi, to which the opposition had objected.