Rahul Trivedi All materialsThe 2024 parliamentary elections in India are scheduled to be held between April and May. In the last elections, the Bharatiya Janata Party-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) won more than 300 parliamentary seats and formed the government, while the country’s main opposition party Congress managed to win 52 seats.The parliamentary elections in India are slated to be held in 20 months. With this, the country has started witnessing major political drama in several states.A recent political feud was witnessed in Bihar, one of the most politically significant states, as the governing parties – Janata Dal (United) (JD(U)) and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) – severed ties with each other.Bihar state chief Nitish Kumar on August 9 called off the alliance with the BJP and two days later formed a new government by joining hands with the opposition party Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD). This was the second time Kumar severed ties with the BJP. The first time, the alliance was ended in 2014 in protest against the elevation of Narendra Modi as prime ministerial candidate. After severing ties with the BJP, he formed an alliance named Mahagathbandhan (Grand Alliance) with the RJD and Congress.According to media reports, the JD(U) and the BJP had been squabbling over issues ranging from “Agnipath” (armed forces recruitment scheme), caste census, and population law, to a ban on loudspeakers at religious places.However, political experts were on tenterhooks when the JD(U) supported NDA candidates in the presidential and vice presidential polls.Sputnik reached out to political experts to talk about the impact of the political drama in Bihar on the national political landscape, and whether Nitish Kumar can emerge as the face of the opposition parties ahead of the 2024 parliamentary elections.Commenting on the breaking of the alliance, psephologist Vinod Kumar Shukla said it was good riddance for the BJP, as it is nurturing an ambition to go solo in the next state assembly elections.
“The differences between the JD(U) and BJP were brewing for quite some time and the latter was becoming aggressive as Nitish Kumar was failing administratively. So, I don’t see any setback for the BJP in this regard,” he said.
Talking about the impact of the political development in the state on the national landscape, Shukla said that this would hardly have a big impact, as state chief Kumar is not a mass leader.However, another political expert, Sanjeev Kaushik, contradicted Shukla’s view, saying that breaking the alliance in Bihar is a setback for the BJP and the larger impact is likely to be seen during the 2024 elections.Asked if Nitish Kumar will be able to unite the opposition before the 2024 general assembly elections, Shukla said it is very difficult to unite the opposition parties, as every leader has their own ambition.
“I think that the Opposition will remain scattered because some political parties like Trinamool Congress (TMC), Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS), and the Yuvajana Shramika Rythu Congress Party (YSRCP) won’t accept the main opposition party Congress as the leading party and vice-versa,” he said.
Adding that the opposition parties won’t be able to decide on a unanimous name as their leader, Shukla stated: “There is hardly any possibility that the opposition parties will unite on the name of Nitish Kumar as his credibility is questionable. It is the second time that he switched the alliance and there is a possibility that he might return to the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) again before the 2024 polls.”Countering Shukla’s views about the acceptability of Nitish Kumar, Kaushik said: “There are several politicians who have given a tough fight to the BJP in their respective states like Mamata Banerjee in West Bengal, K. Chandrashekar Rao in Telangana, but Kumar has more acceptability among the opposition parties.”However, raising doubts on Kumar’s credibility, he said that it will be a big challenge for him to establish himself as a credible politician who can remain firm on his principles.