In a significant development, the JD(U) has declared a war on its ally BJP by rejecting Narendra Modi as the Prime Ministerial candidate of the NDA, making things easier for the BJP to take a clear stand on this issue. So far, the JD(U) leaders were expressing their reservations about Modi, but not taking names directly.
JD(U) leader Shabir Ali made it clear on TV channels that his party won’t support Narendra Modi under any circumstances and would go for Sushma Swaraj, Rajnath Singh or Arun Jaitley as the PM candidate. Surprisingly, he even rejected LK Advani, probably for his alleged involvement in 1992 Babri demolition even though JD(U) fought the Lok Sabha polls in 2009 under his leadership.
With Nitish Kumar talking tough on Modi and putting the responsibility of Godhra train burning and subsequent riots on him, the BJP has decided to act tough. The party is in no mood to allow Nitish to take it for granted. In all probability, the split between both parties will take effect within a few days or after the Karnataka polls.
If the BJP pulls out of the coalition government in Bihar, Nitish Kumar government will be reduced to a minority. In the 243-member Bihar Assembly, JD(U) has 118 MLAs, while BJP has 91 members. Getting the support of 4 Independents or other party MLAs won’t be a difficult task for Nitish Kumar. So, he is confident that his government won’t fall even if BJP quits.
Nitish also knows that if he breaks the alliance with the BJP, he will snatch majority of Muslim voters from the RJD. The Muslim voters constitute at least 20% of the total voters in the state. The BJP is also not worried, as it would target the upper caste and urban class in Bihar, which may approve Narendra Modi and reject Nitish Kumar’s “pseudo-secularism”.