Will NDA go for early Assembly election in Bihar after 2004 defeat of Vajpayee government?
Patna,(BiharTimes): Media is abuzz with stories that both the Janata Dal (United) and Bharatiya Janata Party want simultaneous Lok Sabha and Assembly elections, especially in Bihar. Some top leaders of both the major partners of the National Democratic Alliance have even given their opinion in its favour.
But are the leaders of the two parties really keen to see early Assembly election in Bihar? Or are they giving statements to test the political waters of the state?
After all most of the ministers and ruling NDA legislators would not like election dates advanced by 18 months. In fact even the opposition MLAs would not love to have election in April-May 2019 in place of October-November 2020.
Once elected, nobody is sure of winning the election again.
Whatever may be the statements of some of the senior leaders of the party, the NDA legislators have not forgotten how the over-confident Atal Bhari Vajpayee government lost the 2004 after pre-poning the date by six months.
After winning Asssembly elections in three out of four states––Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh––in December 2003 the BJP-led NDA in January 2004 announced early election.
Apparently, everything was in favour of the Vajpayee government. The Congress had won only one state in December 2003 Assembly election, that is Delhi, which has only 70 Assembly and seven Lok Sabha seats.
Though the Congress was in disarray then and most mass-based regional satraps like Mamata Banerjee of Trinamool Congress and Naveen Patnaik of Biju Janata Dal had joined the NDA. Sharad Pawar-led Nationalist Congress Party had already distanced itself from the Congress in 1999.
The NDA went to 2004 election with the slogans of Good Governance and Shining India. Yet when the results came on May 13, 2004 the NDA leaders were shocked that they have lost it.
Fifteen years later will the NDA commit the same mistake in 2019? It would be wrong to suggest that everything is hunky-dory in Bihar.
Unlike in 2010 Nitish Kumar has no new achievement to highlight. In fact he could not cash in on those achievements in 2014 Lok Sabha poll. In 2015 he won less on the basis of performance and more on the basis of equation as his party, Janata Dal (United) tied up with RJD, which still has a support base.
True, the Nitish Kumar government imposed prohibition and introduced Seven Resolves. But both the policies were implemented when he was in Grand Allaince and had total backing of RJD as well as Congress.
In contrast the BJP kept criticising Nitish Kumar on both these counts. Though Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his visit to Patna on January 5 (Prakash Utsav) did appreciate imposition of prohibition the state leaders of the BJP always claimed that it has failed in Bihar.
Sushil Kumar Modi, in particular, always criticised the Seven Resolves of the Grand Alliance government and called them waste of money. He was in particular harsh on Prashant Kishor.
In such a scenario it is to be seen how Nitish Kumar markets prohibition and Seven Resolves ahead of the next Assembly election.
Besides, unlike in 2010 Nitish will not have an upper hand in the NDA at the time of seat-sharing arrangements. If everything remains the same he will have to accommodate three more parties––LJP, RLSP and HAM.
The bottom line is that, unlike in the past, today all his friends have grown suspicious of him, as he had done a number of flip-flops in the last few years. The trust deficit is very much there.