oppn parties Nitish Kumar May Not Be Acceptable to All

News Snippets

  • Media person Rajat Sharma resigns as DDCA president
  • Shiv Sena, NCP and Congress postpone meeting the governor of Maharashtra
  • Shiv Sena not to attend the NDA meeting on 17th November, says break up "a formality"
  • Shiv Sena says that the confidence the BJP is showing about forming the government in Maharashtra is based purely on its expectation of getting numbers through horse trading
  • Anil Ambani resigns as director of the bankrupt Reliance Communications
  • India beat Bangladesh by an innings and 150 rums inside three days in the first Test. Indian pacers excel after Mayank Agarwal's double century
  • Sena-NCP-Congress work out a common minimum programme, will form the government soon and it will last 5 years, says Sharad Pawar
  • Income Tax Appellate Tribunal upholds the decision to withdraw the charitable status of Young India, making it liable to pay Rs 145 in income tax. Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Vadra are the majority shareholders in the company
  • CBI raids offices of Amnesty International across India
  • Supreme Court quashes NCLAT order against Arcelor Mittal and paves the way for the company to take over ailing Essar Steel
  • Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman says concerns of telcos will be addressed and no company will close down
  • Government thinking of providing higher insurance coverage on bank deposits
  • Mayank Agarwal scores a double century as India take firm grip on the first Test versus Bangladesh
  • Supreme Court warns Rahul Gandhi to be more careful in future but drops contempt proceedings in the "chor" case
  • In a flip-flop, Vodafone CEO says sorry to the government, sys no plan to exit India
Supreme Court dismisses plea for review in Rafale case, says no need for roving inquiry, maintains clean chit to government
oppn parties
Nitish Kumar May Not Be Acceptable to All

By Sunil Garodia

About the Author

Sunil Garodia Editor-in-Chief of indiacommentary.com. Current Affairs analyst and political commentator. Writes for a number of publications.
The Janata Dal (United) has proposed that Nitish Kumar be made the face of opposition unity and the frontrunner to take on Narendra Modi in the 2019 general elections. The party has said that Nitish is the most credible face of inclusive growth by citing his “achievements” in Bihar and the fact that he got a second mandate to rule the state.

Although JD (U) is entitled to its opinion, it presupposes a lot of things in making the suggestion. The first and the obvious thing it supposes is that there will be a rainbow coalition of opposition parties to counter Narendra Modi and the BJP. In doing so, it supposes that diverse political parties, cutting across the spectrum, will be persuaded to come on a common platform. A mahagathbandhan of the sort cobbled up in Bihar is not possible on a pan-India basis for the simple reason that India is not Bihar. Bringing the Left and the Trinamool, or the AIADM and the DMK, or the SP and the BSP together is just a pipe dream. Bringing some of these parties on the same platform as the Congress is another problem. Taking just a few parties along will be meaningless as it would not serve the purpose of preventing division of opposition votes.

Then, it supposes that transcending the personal egos of most of the other leaders, Nitish Kumar could be accepted as the common prime ministerial candidate. The biggest hurdle in this will be one Rahul Gandhi. The Congress will cite its all-India infrastructure and power in a few states (although that might change in the mini elections in 2018) to claim the top spot for its heir apparent. Further, given the bad blood between Mamata Banerjee and Nitish recently, she will definitely object to his candidature. A few other leaders might also cite Kumar’s recent bonhomie with Modi to block him.

Instead of throwing up names in a bid to project Nitish Kumar as an all India leader, the JD (U) would do well to first start the process of talking to all the concerned parties to create the platform. They should talk about a common minimum programme, a clear cut agenda and the strategy to be developed to counter the BJP. It is mischievous on JD (U)’s part to bring up the name of Nitish as the face of the opposition at such an early stage. It is most likely to be a stumbling block in achieving opposition unity.