Patna,(BiharTimes): The replacement of Governor Debanand Konwar on March 9 is another instance of growing closeness between Janata Dal (United) and Congress.
Ever since last year’s Presidential election the Janata Dal (United)––at least chief minister Nitish Kumar––has repeatedly been giving signals of proximity with the Congress.
He declared support for Pranab Mukherjee, when the alliance partner, the BJP, voted for P A Sangma. Then Nitish Kumar went out of way to lavish fulsome praise on the Union Budget presented by P Chidambaram last month.
In return Prime Minister in his tweet praised the growth rate of Bihar and said that it is better than Gujarat. Though appreciating the growth rate of Bihar does not just mean applauding the state government as the Centre’s policy, funding and other factors too play their parts yet Nitish was quick to capitalize as Manmohan Singh made a comparison with Gujarat and that too just after Narendra Modi targeted him.
Now the Centre has shifted the state governor to Tripura. After all Nitish did not have very good relationship with Konwar whom he accused of appointing VCs without proper consultation.
PM’s praise for Bihar’s growth rate came as a surprise as at the state level the Congress and other opposition leaders have repeatedly been ridiculing the CM’s claim. The timing of PM’s comment on growth rate came as a surprise as it was since 2004––that is much before the advent of Nitish––that Bihar has been registering around 11 per cent growth rate, yet the PM never tweeted.
Though Nitish immediately thanked PM, on Sunday he clarified that much should not be read into Manmohan Singh’s tweet about growth rate.
Political observers are of the view that the two recent developments had much to do with the 2014 Lok Sabha elections. The Congress, which has nothing to lose in Bihar, wants to keep two options open in the state. There is no need to bother about if RJD-LJP-Congress idea did not click. A truck with Janata Dal (United) should not be rejected out of hand, especially after the election.
Even if Nitish fights election in alliance with the BJP there would be no problem for the Congress party. It is investing on Nitish keeping in mind the post-poll scenario.
If Janata Dal (United) emerges as a strong force after the election the Congress may like to woo it with the carrot named Special Category Status.
Thus it would not be very difficult for Nitish to switch over as he had said in the past that he would go with the party which gives this status to Bihar. But the big question remains: what would in such case happen to leaders like Bihar deputy chief minister Sushil Kumar Modi of the BJP and national president of Janata Dal (United), Sharad Yadav.