Nitish’s Clean Image Makes Him Best Choice to Lead Oppn Unity Efforts

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PATNA – The 2024 Lok Sabha election is crucial for the opposition parties of the country. While it is a fact that fighting against Narendra Modi will not be easy, the opposition seems to have found a leader in Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, who is having similar capacity — clean image and big administrative experience.

At present, the BJP has a predictable modus operandi to selectively target opposition leaders involved in corruption cases. Be it Lalu Prasad, Tejashwi Yadav, Hemant Soren, Abhishek Banerjee, Ajit Pawar, Arvind Kejriwal, Abhay Chautala or Rahul Gandhi — all are under the scanner of central probe agencies.

Amid this, Nitish Kumar is the only leader who is not under the lens of the central agencies.

Nitish Kumar belongs to the Other Backward Class (OBC). He is Kurmi by caste and is the undisputed leader of Luv (Kurmi)-Kush (Kushwaha or Koiri) in Bihar. On the caste front, Nitish Kumar is an ideal leader to challenge Narendra Modi.

Recently, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) launched a campaign against PM Modi, challenging his educational qualifications, that was spearheaded by the party’s national convenor Arvind Kejriwal.

Nitish Kumar, on the other hand, has impressive educational qualifications. He is a civil engineer from the prestigious Engineering College Patna, which is now having the status of National Institute of Technology (NIT).

Why is Nitish Kumar getting support from the opposition leaders?

During the Assembly elections in Bihar in 2020, the NDA contested with Nitish Kumar as its face. However, Nitish Kumar’s JD(U) could manage only 43 seats.

Nitish Kumar and other leaders of his party strongly felt that the BJP had back-stabbed them by joining hands with Chirag Paswan to cut the votes of the JD-U candidates.

The trigger point of separation between the NDA and JD-U was the statement by J.P. Nadda on July 31, 2022 in Patna, where he had said that the BJP will demolish all regional parties of the country.

Soon after in August, Nitish Kumar broke the alliance with the NDA. After the formation of the Mahagathbandhan government in Bihar, Nitish Kumar went to Delhi and met with opposition leaders, including Rahul Gandhi, Sonia Gandhi, Arvind Kejriwal, Sitaram Yechuri, Akhilesh Yadav, D. Raja and others.

At that time, the Congress had not given a wholehearted response to him, probably the grand old party was having trust issues with Nitish Kumar.

In the past seven months, the opposition parties might have analysed the modus operandi of the BJP and found that it is targeting only those leaders who are involved in corruption cases.

Ahead of next year’s Lok Sabha polls, the Narendra Modi-led government is focusing on the policy of zero tolerance against corruption, apart from the saffron leaders pointing at Yogi Adityanath’s model of crime control.

Nitish Kumar knows his positives and so do the opposition parties. This is the reason why his acceptance among them is high.

The Congress garnered great support during the Bharat Jodo Yatra, but soon after Rahul Gandhi was convicted in a criminal defamation case pertaining to the Modi surname by a Surat court, which led to the disqualification of his Lok Sabha membership.

Against this backdrop, Nitish Kumar seems to have emerged as the one leader who could stand in front of the BJP, because the saffron camp cannot target him in corruption cases, nor for his caste or educational qualification.

The opposition leaders, including Mamata Benerjee, Arvind Kejriwal, Akhilesh Yadav, Rahul Gandhi and Mallikarjun Kharge, have openly said that Nitish Kumar is doing a good work by uniting the opposition parties.

Meanwhile, the BJP leaders in Bihar are targeting Nitish Kumar for �sitting’ on the lap of Lalu Prasad, though they are not yet clear when it comes to targeting the Chief Minister directly.

State BJP President Samrat Chaudgary’s recent statement that “Nitish Kumar Ko Rajnitik Rup Se Mitti Me Mila Denge” was an indication of how desperate the BJP is now.

“The way BJP is selectively targeting the leaders of the opposition parties through central agencies shows how desperate they are to win the 2024 Lok Sabha polls. But they do not know how to deal with Nitish Kumar who has a clean image.

“Hence, they are using unparliamentary language like “Mitti Me Mila Denge” for such a senior leader. It shows the desperation of the BJP at a time when Nitish Kumar is garnering opposition support from across the country,” Madan Mohan Jha, MLC and former state President of Congress, told IANS.

“Nitish Kumar is doing great work in uniting the opposition. He has the experience of running the government. As far as the opposition’s PM face is concerned, neither Nitish Kumar nor our leaders have claimed it. We have a clear view that once we get the majority at the Centre, all the parties will sit together and decide the appropriate candidate for the Prime Minister’s post,” Jha said.

“The BJP cannot drag Nitish Kumar in any court case or through constitutional agencies because of his clean image. They do not have the moral right to target him. The leaders of the opposition parties in the country also know that Nitish Kumar is the right person, and hence they are supporting him on the issue of opposition unity,” said Neeraj Kumar, JD-U MLC, and chief spokesperson of the party.

However, Nikhil Anand, national General Secretary of BJP’s OBC wing, has a different take on Nitish Kumar and his motto of uniting the opposition.

“Nitish Kumar has lost his moral and ideological credibility due to his continuous U-turns. He has sabotaged his development-oriented image, which was earned with the help of BJP. After sitting on the lap of the RJD, he is ready to join hands with the criminals and mafia groups just to realise his dreams.

“Liquor mafias and organised crime syndicates have taken over the whole governance system in Bihar, exposing Nitish Kumar. His claims of zero tolerance against crime and corruption have been proven wrong,” Anand said. -IANS

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