Nitish has upset calculations of many including his colleague, Lalu
New Delhi: The support extended to Ram Nath Kovind, National Democratic Alliance candidate for the presidential election next month, by Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar, has raised a question mark not only over the success of the opposition candidate for the post but also the proposed grand alliance at the national level.
For the former chief minister and his alliance partner Lalu Prasad Yadav it is a double whammy. Already upset over recent seizure of family properties by the Income Tax , he has now to worry about his plan for a big rally by non-BJP parties in Patna.
The two leaders were pulling different chords on many issues in the past. Support to a ruling alliance candidate is a new irritant.
What has happened, however, is not unexpected. It was very much on the cards from day one when BJP president Amit Shah had announced Kovin'd candidature. Soon after the announcement Nitish had gone and congratulated him. In addition, he had said that it has done Bihar proud as he was the governor of the state since 2015.
There was enough hint when he had called a party meeting to discuss the issue a day ahead of the opposition meeting on the subject. Though there is no formal announcement by him but his party colleagues have already made his decision known.
He will personally informed his party leaders including senior party man Sharad Yadav in the evening. The reasons he gave make sense. He said he had the best of relationship with Kovind during his tenure as governor ( he resigned on Tuesday) . Secondly, though he has belonged to a rival party , he has been non-controversial and worked for the upliftment of the poor and Dalits.
This is the second time that he has kept merit above party politics. In 2012 he had backed a rival party candidate-- Pranab Mukherjee of the Congress who continues to hold the highest post. He was with the NDA then.
His colleagues have said that he had given a bit of his mind to Congress leader Sonia Gandhi and some others on Monday itself after Kovind's candidature was announced. He had told them that there was no good reason to oppose him.
The opposition to his candidature will mean that he is anti-Dalit which he is not, these leaders were additionally told. It has put Lalu in a fix. If he too support him message will go out that he has gone pro-BJP, the party he has vehementally opposing all these years.
With Nitish walking away, the proposed grand alliance at the national level does not appear t so grand.
This makes the election of the former Bihar governor a foregone conclusion. The NDA has been already assured support by some regional parties, besides the alliance partners. With the support extended by the Janata Dal ( U) of Nitish his position has become unassailable.