Will Bihar witness a Maha-like ‘political realignment’?

NEW DELHI: Amid the political crisis in NCP triggered by Ajit Pawar’s rebellion in Maharashtra, several leaders are now predicting a similar fate for Nitish Kumar‘s JD(U) in Bihar.
Union minister Ramdas Athawale on Monday said that a Maharashtra-like situation may also arise in states like Bihar and Uttar Pradesh.
Athawale claimed that some JD(U) MLAs are upset with Nitish Kumar and may switch sides to NDA.
Former Bihar deputy chief minister Sushil Kumar Modi made a similar assertion earlier, saying that an atmosphere of “rebellion” is building up in the JD(U) and it may split up anytime with many of its MPs and MLAs in talks with the BJP and other parties.

He said that a “stampede” is waiting to take place anytime in the JD(U).
“These JD(U) leaders are neither able to accept RJD’s Tejashwi Yadav as Chief Minister Nitish Kumar’s “successor”, nor the Congress’ Rahul Gandhi as the leader of the united opposition,” he claimed.
Lok Janshakti Party (Ram Vilas) leader Chirag Paswan said that Bihar may be headed for mid-term elections soon, claiming that several MLAs from JD(U) were in touch with him.

Is Bihar government in trouble?
The claims by Nitish’s opponents come in the backdrop of the Bihar chief minister holding one-to-one meetings with several JD(U) legislators.
Sushil Modi said that Nitish is personally meeting his MLAs and MPs due to suspicion that a Maharashtra-like situation may arise in Bihar.
“In the last 13 years, Nitish never held one-to-one meeting with his party MLAs. Today, he is meeting each legislator separately,” Sushil Modi said.
Insiders in the Grand Alliance said the BJP managers have been making attempts to lure the JD(U) and Congress MLAs.
Even the JD(U) and Congress leadership are aware that a senior Mahagathbandan leader has turned out to be a black sheep and secretly working for BJP.
They also said some Congress legislators are more vulnerable and wanted to switch over to NDA to improve their “chances of winnability” in the next assembly polls. As Congress has only 19 MLAs in Bihar, 13 of them would be needed to cause a split.
However, causing a split in JD(U) would be more difficult as it would require the support of at least 30 MLAs (two-thirds of the 45 MLAs). But the Ajit Pawar episode in Maharashtra has sent a warning message to them.
JD(U) insiders said the party leadership was aware about likely such attempt and that is why Nitish has been holding one-to-one meeting with the party’s MLAs, MLCs and MPs over the last three days.
The rumours of discontent in JD(U) have been doing the rounds for a while, especially after leaders like Upendra Kushwaha and Jitam Ram Manjhi parted ways with Nitish.
While Kushwaha formed his own party after exiting JD(S), Manjhi’s HAM has joined the BJP-led NDA.
(With inputs from agencies)

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