Revival of constituency politics Nitish Kumar Strategy Mission 2024 BJP PM Modi

New Delhi: Politics is a game of possibilities, especially from the perspective of Indian politics, which means anything is possible even when a leader is looking to gain power or retain it. Last month, JD(U) leader and Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar left the BJP and joined the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD). It is also being discussed that he may become the prime ministerial candidate of the opposition in 2024 rather than this decision. After ending ties with the BJP, Nitish Kumar met with many leaders including Rahul Gandhi, Sitaram Yechury, D Raja, Arvind Kejriwal, Akhilesh Yadav, K Chandrasekhar Rao and others. This is seen as an attempt to build opposition unity.

Nitish’s bet before 2024
Different reactions are also coming out about this move of Nitish Kumar and his decision to come back to the grand alliance. A section sees the JD(U) and RJD coming together against the BJP as a revival of constituency politics against the BJP. At the same time, some see Nitish Kumar as a unifying force in opposition politics. The third class predicts that he will emerge as an alternative to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who himself has denied this ambition. Meanwhile, instead of trying to revive constituency politics, it is seen as a continuation of the fight with the BJP.

2019… this UP election is a must see
Before we get into what is being said about Nitish Kumar and the new alliance, one thing needs to be understood. A lot has changed in Indian politics. Issues of development along with caste, religion and regional identity are now important among the masses. Any hope of a magical effect of any caste-based political claim can be fully realized in the changed political landscape. In an alliance of two or more parties, there is no exchange of votes during elections. This was seen in UP during the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. Where BSP and SP failed to exchange votes with each other.
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How successful was Mandal’s panchavadya against the BJP?

The resurgence of Mandal-inspired political assertion is not based on caste numbers alone, but on identity-making issues. And it can be converted into votes during elections. It remains to be seen what plans Nitish Kumar and his new alliance are planning to sway the OBCs in their favour. Let us not forget that the BJP has made deep inroads among the OBCs across India over the last few decades. Therefore, it is unlikely that mandal politics against the BJP will become stronger and emerge faster.

BJP has good grip on OBCs
Another reason why a struggle like Mandal did not take place is that caste equations were seen broken on the issue of Hindutva in the last elections. Due to Nitish Kumar’s Bihar-centric image, it will be difficult for him to become the political messiah of OBC castes in various states. After the 90s, a large middle class emerged among the country’s OBC communities and other social groups. A large section of this new middle class is drawn to Hinduism and its inclination is directly towards the BJP in various parts of the country.
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What is the impact at the national level?

Although this move by Nitish Kumar affects Bihar politics, it is unlikely to affect national politics. It is true that opposition politics in India is largely divided and beset by crises of various kinds. In such a scenario, he might look at Nitish Kumar, but it is still difficult to see him as a winning option against Narendra Modi. Several U-turns have affected Nitish’s image, which may weaken his influence in the anti-BJP alliance.

(The author is Director, GB Pant Social Science Institute)

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