ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Power or Politics?

Nitish’s Dilemma

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It is not easy to decipher what message emanates from Nitish Kumar’s decision to support the Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) presidential nominee and generally rock the non-BJP boat. His victory in the Bihar assembly elections had not only put the BJP in a spot but also generated an impression that he might lead an all-India anti-BJP platform.

Three years after the resurgence of the BJP, it is still unclear which political forces would fill the oppositional space. In view of the dilapidated state of the Congress party and its sheer unwillingness to reclaim its place, many observers tend to invest analytical energy and hope in state parties. This expectation does have merit because in contests against Congress, the success rate of the BJP was much better in comparison to its success vis-à-vis state parties. Beyond this factual electoral dimension, there is also a larger and somewhat theoretical point. Since the 1990s, many have believed that the phase of “all-India”’ parties is nearly over and following that logic, many would today believe that the main opposition to the BJP would emerge from the state parties. Accordingly, the Trinamool Congress (TMC) in West Bengal has been vociferous in its opposition to the BJP and the Janata Dal (United) or/JD(U)-led coalition in Bihar kept the BJP away from power in that state. The fact that many key states are currently governed by state parties and that there is a presence of large contingents from parties like the TMC or the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) in the Lok Sabha, make state parties natural claimants to the oppositional space.

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Updated On : 14th Jul, 2017

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