Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar’s moves for opposition unity in the country have got a big boost from the Congress win in the Karnataka assembly election.
Nitish Kumar always believed that opposition unity cannot be possible without the Congress and his prognosis is proving correct through the result of the Karnataka election.
The Bihar CM has met leaders of eight states such as Delhi-Punjab combined, Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, West Bengal, Jharkhand, Kerala and Odisha so far and 7 of them have given support to Kumar’s initiative for opposition unity.
Nitish Kumar plans to execute a one candidate-one seat formula in these states having 256 Lok Sabha seats. Apart from Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra, other states have non-Congress governments.
Delhi and Punjab have 20 Lok Sabha seats and the AAP is ruling in both the states. In West Bengal, there are 42 Lok Sabha seats and the ruling TMC has 24 MPs in the Lower House of Parliament. In Jharkhand, there are 14 Lok Sabha seats and a JMM, RJD and Congress government in the state. In Kerala, the LDF has a government and it has 29 Lok Sabha seats.
In Uttar Pradesh, 80, and in Maharashtra having 48 Lok Sabha seats the BJP is in power but the opposition parties like the Samajwadi party and the NCP, the Congress and the Shiv Sena Uddhav group are also strong.
If one adds the 40 seats of Bihar, the tally will reach 296 where non-Congress governments are functioning. Nitish Kumar plans to execute the one candidate-one seat formula in these states to put up a strong challenge to the BJP.
Opposition unity was already visible in the Karnataka assembly election where the AAP had earlier announced to contest the election with full force but stepped back to avoid division of the votes of the Congress party.
If such a political strategy is implemented in the other states where the regional parties are stronger, the poll tactic of the BJP to divide the votes of the opposition parties would fail in the Lok Sabha poll. The Karnataka assembly poll result is an alarm bell for the saffron party.
Besides these eight states, the Congress is ruling in Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh and will now form the government in Karnataka as well. So in eleven states the BJP can expect a tough challenge from the opposition parties.
Nitish Kumar, after the meeting with NCP chief Sharad Pawar, said that the discussion on opposition unity is going in the right direction and an all party meeting will be held in Patna after the Karnataka election.
“The way Congress won in Karnataka, it is a loss for PM Narendra Modi who was leading the campaign for the last four months. He set the narrative by connecting Bajrangbali in the election, people in the rest of the world are laughing at him. India is the largest democratic country in the world and everyone was closely monitoring the election result of Karnataka. The people of the country were talking about inflation, price rise, LPG gas cylinders, fuel prices, unemployment and Narendra Modi is talking about Bajrangbali. The result in Karnataka has given a strong message that you cannot win elections by bringing self-styled godmen like Baba Bageshwar and polarising the voters. People are understanding now that religion and polarisation of votes through Bajrangbali and Baba Bageshwar would not help them,” said Shivanand Tiwari, national vice president of the RJD.
“The efforts of Nitish Kumar to unite the opposition parties are yielding results. We have an equation in Maharashtra where the NCP, Congress and Shiv Sena (Uddhav group) have an understanding of seats to execute the one candidate-one seat formula. We need a similar understanding between the Congress and the Samajwadi Party in Uttar Pradesh. One such formula for the Samajwadi Party is to leave Madhya Pradesh and focus on Uttar Pradesh. Similarly, the Congress should partially leave Uttar Pradesh and fight strongly in Madhya Pradesh so that one to three percent of the vote share would not divide between them and the BJP cannot take advantage of it. They will support each other in these two states. Similar combinations are required in West Bengal, Jharkhand, Telangana and Bihar as well. Overall, the Karnataka election has given a big boost to Nitish Kumar and the opposition parties,” Tiwari said.
“The way the Karnataka election result came in favour of the Congress party, it has rejected religion based politics. The BJP has brought Bajrangbali but he was angry with the BJP leaders and Narendra Modi for dragging him into the poll fray to get votes. It is a defeat for the Modi-Shah government at the Centre which has used the constitutional bodies for political benefits to target the opposition leaders. The strike rate of Narendra Modi and Amit Shah in the areas connected with Maharashtra is extremely poor. The election result of Karnataka will reflect in the upcoming assembly elections in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh Chhattisgarh and also the Lok Sabha election 2024,” said Neeraj Kumar, MLC of JD-U and chief spokesperson of the party.
“The result of Karnataka has proved that they will vote on the basis of real issues and not on religion. It is a boost for Bihar CM Nitish Kumar’s initiative for opposition unity as well,” Kumar said.
“When it comes to the meeting between Nitish Kumar and Odisha chief minister Naveen Patnaik, the latter never said that he is going with the BJP. He always has a neutral approach towards national politics. So, a section of the media saying that he has given a big jolt to Nitish Kumar’s opposition unity efforts is a wrong interpretation,” Kumar said.
After the election result, Tejashwi Yadav also said: “Lord Bajrangbali is angry with the BJP.”