In the past decade, Bihar has experienced significant political changes and shifting relationships among its senior leaders. With the 2024 Lok Sabha polls approaching, the opposition INDIA bloc is at a crucial stage of seat-sharing. There are speculations surrounding Nitish Kumar’s decision to hold a central committee meeting on December 29, amidst rumors of discord within Bihar’s ruling Janata Dal (United) party.
Many political observers believe that all is not well within Kumar’s JD(U), as its national president Rajiv Ranjan, also known as Lalan Singh, is reportedly aligning with Lalu Prasad and other senior members of the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD). However, a section of leaders from both the JD(U) and RJD dismisses these rumors as opposition tactics to create confusion ahead of the seat-sharing process.
Kumar, despite being a key figure in the INDIA front, has not received the recognition he feels he deserves from alliance partners. This has left him disappointed, according to a senior leader of his party who chose to remain anonymous. The alleged fissures between the RJD and the JD(U), both of which are constituents of the opposition alliance, are further complicating the situation.
Speculation has been fueled by the absence of CM Kumar and his deputy Tejashwi Yadav of the RJD sharing a stage over the past two weeks. Yadav missed three major events, including the state’s global investors’ meet in Patna and a dairy meet, despite being expected to attend.
It is believed that Kumar was positioning himself for a shift to national politics and was hoping for a significant role in the alliance. He was also expected to hand over the mantle to Tejashwi in the state, given his seniority and crucial role in both central and state politics. Moreover, there were expectations that Kumar would be named the national convener of the INDIA bloc.
The influence of the Congress on the agenda and leadership has reportedly irked the Bihar chief minister. There are also concerns about the weakening position of Lalan Singh within the JD(U) and his perceived alignment with the RJD. Party colleagues are anticipating a change in structure or a major reconciliation, as uncertainty looms over the December 29 meeting.
Diverse views exist among senior leaders and political experts in Bihar regarding the incidents that have triggered speculations surrounding the JD(U)-RJD alliance and Kumar’s relationship with Lalan Singh. While some maintain that all is well within the coalition, others suggest that there may be underlying tensions.
Senior leaders have noted that Nitish Kumar and Lalan Singh are close friends and that the rumors circulating in political circles and the media are likely propagated by the BJP and its affiliates to create doubt and confusion among the public.
The RJD has also maintained that there is nothing unusual within its alliance with the JD(U) and that the rumors are being spread out of frustration by the BJP, which is losing support in rural areas of Bihar.
While the proposal for the face of the INDIA bloc has stirred controversy, with different leaders putting forward various names, including that of senior Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge, tensions between Nitish Kumar and Lalan Singh have raised concerns.
Overall, the political landscape in Bihar is undergoing significant shifts, with alliances, leadership positions, and the dynamics within political parties creating an atmosphere of uncertainty and speculation. These developments are being closely observed and analyzed by political analysts and experts in the field.