Both are 64, both have risen from below, both command a one-man army, both rule the hearts of people and both have their prestige at stake. It’s a battle amongst the best, its Bihar election. The JD(U) leader and Bihar CM Nitish Kumar is aiming to clear all the glamour of Modi-wave, while PM Narendra Modi is decisive to end the ‘jungle-raaj’.
Nitish Kumar took Modi’s DNA jibe to heart and made this a matter of Bihar pride. After the drubbing in LS polls, he needs a face-saver to continue to power. On the other hand after Delhi debacle this would even be a major test for the Modi-wave and thus the ‘Bihar Package’ and four Parivartan rallies. Nitish stands strong with Lalu Yadav on his side with his vote banks, but it’s a strength that could be counter-effective.
If NDA wins there will be a fresh impetus to economic reforms, they claim. It will give BJP enough momentum to make deeper forays into poll-bound states like Assam, West Bengal and Uttar Pradesh. Bihar would come as an endorsement of the NDA government’s policies and programs. If it loses PM Narendra Modi’s rapport and stature within the party is sure to condense. With the Grand-Alliance win there would be renewed efforts by the alliance for opposition unity at the national level. This would make things in the Parliament difficult for the NDA with further stalls. If the alliance loses, it may be the end of the alliance.
For RJD chief Lalu Prasad Yadav this is a survival game. It is this survival question that has made him tie-up with his rival Nitish Kumar. Parallel to this he even wants to establish his two sons and his elder daughter as he can see the end of his era near. Lalu can’t contest election but will play a big role in moving the vote bank of Muslims and Yadavs.
NDA has a trump card in form of HAM chief Jitan Ram Manjhi who made this a battle for the pride of Mahadalits after he quit as CM. If he wins some seats he will remain relevant in Bihar politics. Upendra Kushwaha, RLSP chief is a key member of the NDA in Bihar. He is a former Rajya Sabha member from JD(U). But what he can do is to pull a sizeable chunk of extremely backward class’ votes to NDA. Thriving on the traditional vote base of BJP, Sushil Modi is amongst the front-runners for the post of Bihar CM, if NDA comes to power.
Amidst all this, who really seems irrelevant is Rahul Gandhi who initially avoided Lalu-Nitish rallies and is still absent from the whole scenario.