Nitish Kumar, Tejashwi Yadav or BJP? On which side will the politics of Bihar sit? Know whose weight is so heavy

Bihar has once again witnessed a change of power just two years before the 2024 Lok Sabha elections. It is generally said about Bihar that if two of the three main parties of the state (RJD, BJP and JDU) come together, it is capable of forming a coalition government. However, the new political alliance in Bihar has forced every political party to re-evaluate its strategy. New challenges lie ahead for the three parties and their leaders.

Tejashwi Yadav

The RJD and its leader Tejashwi Yadav are the clear winners in the new alliance. His party is back in power along with JDU. RJD is the single largest party in the Bihar Legislative Assembly. Tejashwi Yadav had made unemployment a major issue during the election campaign. After the election he projected himself as a champion of youth welfare. There is also speculation in the politics of Bihar that Chief Minister Nitish Kumar can hand over his legacy to Tejashwi Yadav.

The RJD was working on expanding its social base among a section of the upper castes. Much will depend on how the new government implements its promise of jobs. Most of the Backward Castes (MBC) voters have been nurtured by Nitish Kumar. He has always supported them. It is the responsibility of Tejashwi Yadav to ensure that Nitish Kumar’s supporters do not find themselves marginalised, as their leader is weak in terms of electoral numbers.

opportunity: Being in the government has given Tejashwi Yadav an opportunity to change the perception of the party with development and better law and order.

Challenges: The party is still dependent on the Muslim-Yadav support base and the challenge is to move beyond this alliance.

Bharatiya Janata Party

It is because of marginalization of Nitish Kumar and his voters that the JDU leader took such a step which the BJP did not expect. BJP used to be a pillar rider with Nitish Kumar, but things changed in 2019 and 2020. BJP has emerged as a big partner in Bihar. However, the rise of the BJP as the electorally largest national party is scaring its allies. In Bihar, the party will have to create a new equation and it will be dependent on Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Beneficiary (welfare scheme beneficiaries) politics is a tried-and-tested tool for the BJP. Party leaders are already projecting PM Modi as a leader working for the poor. Apart from the traditional upper caste voters, the BJP will work to capture the beneficiary voters in a state where caste matters.

opportunity: Going it alone will give the BJP an opportunity to expand its social base by reaching out to the beneficiaries and the poor. As he did in Uttar Pradesh. Brand Modi is a huge advantage.

Challenges: The BJP needs to reinvent itself against a strong opposition. The other side has a strong caste equation.

Nitish Kumar

Nitish Kumar is the chief minister again, but election after election it is difficult to stop his JDU’s decline. While the BJP will be the main opposition party, the RJD will be in a position to exert its strength. JDU’s struggle for identity and relevance will continue, no matter who is the partner. Many of its second rung leaders seem uneasy with the new alliance, especially those who were defeated by the RJD in the last assembly elections.

BJP is fiercely targeting the vote bank which is considered to be the core of JDU. JDU is not a cadre based party like BJP nor is it organizationally strong. In this situation a lot will depend on whether Nitish Kumar becomes the face of the opposition for 2024 or not. Even if he manages to inspire the opposition camp in some states for a joint fight against the BJP, his stature will rise at the national level. This will help his party. JD(U) may also benefit from an alliance with RJD, as it did earlier.

opportunity: Nitish Kumar can work for opposition unity across the country while maintaining his image of good governance.

Challenges: JDU’s graph is falling down. Nitish Kumar’s popularity is also declining.

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