The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has announced to extend unconditional support to Nitish Kumar’s Janata Dal (United) in order to avoid mid-term Assembly polls in the state. Contrary to its earlier stand, the party will be part of the government and not offer outside support. “Nityanand Rai Ji and I called Nitishji. BJP has decided to support him (Nitish), will support the government formed under him. Will inform Governor also,” senior Bihar BJP leader Sushil Kumar Modi told reporters in Patna. "BJP will be part of the government," he added.
The decision was taken after the BJP’s parliamentary board meeting was held in New Delhi. The JD(U) has 71 MLAs whereas the BJP-led NDA has 58 legislators in the 243-member House. The alliance of the two parties, which was in power for almost 9 years before snapping their ties in 2013, will have 129 MLAs in the 243-member House, well above the half-way mark of 122.
The indications of the two parties coming back together came within minutes of Bihar Chief Minister drawing the curtains on the 20-month-long Grand Alliance with his resignation, with Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeting his support to Nitish’s decision, saying the country appreciates his joining the fight against corruption.
"For the nation, especially for Bihar's bright future, rising above political differences and fighting against corruption is the need of the hour...Many many congratulations to Nitish Kumarji for joining the fight against corruption. Over 125 crore citizens are welcoming and supporting the honesty," said PM Modi.
भ्रष्टाचार के ख़िलाफ़ लड़ाई में जुड़ने के लिए नीतीश कुमार जी को बहुत-बहुत बधाई।— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) July 26, 2017
सवा सौ करोड़ नागरिक ईमानदारी का स्वागत और समर्थन कर रहे हैं
देश के, विशेष रूप से बिहार के उज्जवल भविष्य के लिए राजनीतिक मतभेदों से ऊपर उठकर भ्रष्टाचार के ख़िलाफ़ एक होकर लड़ना,आज देश और समय की माँग है— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) July 26, 2017
Immediately, Kumar thanked the Prime Minister for his support. "I thank Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his tweet supporting my decision, tweets Nitish Kumar," the national president of JD(U) tweeted.
हमने जो निर्णय लिया उसपर माननीय प्रधानमंत्री @narendramodi के ट्वीट के द्वारा दी गई प्रतिक्रिया के लिए उन्हें तहेदिल से धन्यवाद.— Nitish Kumar (@NitishKumar) July 26, 2017
Today, BJP president Amit Shah is learnt to have spoken to the Bihar unit of the party which met shortly after Nitish submitted his resignation to Governor Keshari Nath Tripathi. Senior party leader Sushil Modi told media that the BJP was not in favour of a mid-term poll and that a three-member committee of party leaders will get the views of the MLAs and communicate it to the central leadership.
Many had been speculating of Nitish’s growing bonhomie with the BJP and Narendra Modi, whose assent as the saffron party’s PM candidate was seen as the primarily reason behind Nitish breaking ranks with the BJP in Bihar in 2013. Post the BJP’s win in Lok Sabha elections in 2014, Nitish resigned from his post as CM taking responsibility for the party’s poor show in the polls. BJP and its allies had swept 31 of 40 seats in the ‘Modi wave’. However, 2015 saw rivals Nitish Kumar and RJD chief Lalu Prasad Yadav dump their differences to counter the Bharatiya Janata Party and succeeded at it quite convincingly.
Today, Nitish and the BJP appear to have turned the clock back in time, given that the two parties are coming together after an over three-year hiatus.
Nitish had shown his support for many of BJP’s decisions, going against the line of the opposition. Be it in terms of his support for demonetization or supporting the NDA’s candidate for President to refusing to question the Army’s surgical strike at terror camps across the LoC, Nitish has carefully chosen issues to signal his support to the Centre. The BJP too has responded in kind with the PM praising Nitish’s move to impose complete prohibition in the state during his visit to the state.
"We will decide on whatever is best for Bihar," Nitish had said when asked about an alliance with the BJP. Nitish’s resignation followed Lalu Yadav’s reiteration that his son and Deputy CM Tejashwi Yadav would not quit the Bihar government. He has been at the centre of a row over a corruption scandal. Nitish said it was becoming "difficult for him to work" and that he had followed his conscience.