Trumping Kushwaha

November 20 2018

Bihar CM Nitish Kumar has been keeping a hawk eye on the machinations of Upendra Kushwaha. Nitish realised long ago that by just carving out the image of a Kurmi caste leader, he would be able to cull out just two per cent of the Bihar vote share, whereas if he could position himself as a leader of all three, Kurmi, Koeri and Dhanuk communities, he could bag 10 per cent of the seats. Hence, Nitish had a key role to play in ousting Kushwaha from the BJP-led NDA. On the one hand, BJP boss Amit Shah kept assuring Kushwaha that since the NDA and RJD’s relationship will last only till December, what Kushwaha desires shall be done. On the other hand, Shah kept his political games with Nitish going.
Had Kushwaha not salivated after a Central ministerial spot and joined back RJD a few months earlier, RJD boss Lalu Prasad would perforce grant him 5-6 seats in Bihar. Now Lalu is in a fix. He has to grant some seats for the Congress, CPI, Jitan Ram Manjhi, Sharad Yadav, Pappu Yadav and others too. Pappu is the biggest problem, for he is demanding both Supaul and Madhepura. Yet, Sharad Yadav is also demanding the Madhepura seat. If the alchemy does no go all right, it is possible that Nitish could open a new front with Kushwaha and Dipankar Bhattacharya. If Kushwaha fights from within this group, or even independently, Lalu has nothing to lose, since Kushwaha would only cut into the BJP votes. So now Kushwaha will soon have to finalise his strategy.

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