“Jumla nahi hakihat” (info not fiction), “Mann ki nahi, kaam ki” (precise work speaks for itself) – with these slogans accompanying his images for a brand new publicity marketing campaign, Nitish Kumar has predictably issued himself because the challenger to Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2024.
The slogans take intention at these favoured by the PM, deriding them as fluff to cowl up a scarcity of any actual accomplishments.
JDU launches a sequence of posters and slogans positioning @NitishKumar for the nationwide position
जुमला नहीं, हक़ीक़त!
मन की नहीं, काम की!
प्रदेश में दिखा, देश में दिखेगा! pic.twitter.com/GfkAo7fbIp
— Marya Shakil (@maryashakil) September 1, 2022
The publicity materials was launched yesterday by aides near Nitish Kumar and had been the direct consequence of his assembly along with his Telengana counterpart, Okay Chandrasekhar Rao or “KCR”, who appears to have signed up for bringing collectively an anti-BJP league to unitedly contest the following normal election.
In a month, Nitish Kumar has morphed from a considerably torpid Chief Minister in a perpetual state of discontent along with his ally, the BJP, to the pinnacle of a brand new authorities primarily based on a partnership with Tejaswi Yadav, almost half his age.
“After dumping the BJP, Nitish Kumar is again into nationwide politics, which is closest to his coronary heart. Solely a seven-time Chief Minister like Nitish babu can tackle Modi. Whereas he was with the BP, he was irritable due to the day by day humiliation heaped on him. Now he’s again in kind,” mentioned an aide near Nitish Kumar.
With Nitish Kumar not being coy about his curiosity in working for PM, extra particulars are rising about how he intends to make it occur. So, Tejaswi Yadav has apparently been promised that “Deputy” will likely be struck off from his title to ascertain him as Chief Minister for maybe a 12 months, as Nitish Kumar turns into MP and heads to Delhi to focus full-time on whipping up recalcitrant Opposition leaders, all of whom have boundless ambitions to run for PM.
Sources say that KCR has dedicated to Nitish Kumar that he’ll contact base with main Opposition leaders to work out a standard agenda to tackle the BJP. Those that he’ll name on embody Mamata Banerjee, Uddhav Thackeray, Sharad Pawar, Arvind Kejriwal and M Okay Stalin.
Arvind Kejriwal has already launched a nationwide marketing campaign. Sharad Pawar has cited his age as an element towards a PM-type transfer. Move the salt, please, and take a big pinch of it.
Backgrounding this new unity try which at the moment and considerably doesn’t contain the Congress, are ominous recollections of the notorious Janata Dal which collapsed beneath the burden of its leaders’ ambitions. Nitish Kumar and KCR are clear that solely a regional and rooted opposition can tackle the BJP, and that ultimately this try should contain the Congress, which continues to be no nearer to resolving its bitter divides and its disaster of management. With a vote share of 20 % within the final normal election, the Congress can’t be benched from the Opposition.
Whereas most Opposition leaders share a very good equation with Sonia Gandhi, who’s at the moment the pinnacle of the Congress, this doesn’t prolong to her son, Rahul Gandhi, who the Congress will insist on providing up for PM. However there’s a new urgency to the Opposition attempting to work with out cross-purposes. “All these leaders wish to be PM, however with the misuse of the investigative companies on such an enormous foundation by the BJP, it pushed us collectively. No chief can deny that they should survive to tackle the BJP. It can’t be carried out from jail,” mentioned a senior chief from Nitish Kumar’s get together.
I spoke to seven Opposition leaders for this column and all had been unanimous that the big scale misuse of the central investigative companies such because the Enforcement Directorate (ED) and Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) by the central authorities has became the true glue of Opposition unity. Just about each chief of be aware has an Enforcement Directorate case registered towards them, the most recent being AAP’s Manish Sisodia in an alleged liquor rip-off.
Nitish Kumar has the age and expertise to justifiably stake his declare for the nation’s prime job. Whether or not the others within the Opposition are capable of abdomen that may must be labored out rapidly. 2024 has begun.
(Swati Chaturvedi is an writer and a journalist who has labored with The Indian Specific, The Statesman and The Hindustan Instances.)
Disclaimer: These are the private opinions of the writer.