oppn parties Nitish Kumar May Not Be Acceptable to All

News Snippets

  • Imran Khan raises nuclear war bogey again, says if Pakistan loses a conventional war, it might fight till the end with its nuclear arsenal
  • Searching for Rajeev Kumar, ex-CP, Kolkata Police, the CBI approaches state DGP to know about his whereabouts
  • Ferry overturns in the river Godavari in Andhra. 46 feared dead
  • Supreme Court to hear pleas on Jammu & Kashmir today
  • Ghulam Nabi Azad moves Supreme Court for ordering the government to allow him to visit his family in J&K
  • GST Council meeting to focus on leakages and evasions, expected to tighten processes, especially regarding input tax credit
  • Finance minister, citing figures for July 2019, says that industrial production and fixed investment is showing signs of revival
  • Amit Shah's comment on Hindi as the unifying language draws the ire of MK Stalin and Siddaramaiah. Stalin says the country is India not Hindia
  • On Hindi Diwas today, Amit Shah says use of mother language must be increased but Hindi should be adopted as the common language of the country
  • Pakistan raises white flag on LoC to claim bodies of dead soldiers
  • India beat Bangladesh by 5 runs to lift the U-19 Asia Cup
  • A three-judge bench of the Supreme Court will examine the amendments to the SC/ST act made after an apex court order that 'diluted' the provisions and which were reinstatd by the amendment
  • Delhi government decides to re-implement the odd-even system of traffic management from November 4 to 15
  • UP to discontinue law that allows the state government to pay the income tax dues of ministers
  • Anand Sharma of the Congress to replace P Chidambaram on the parliamentary committee on home affairs
Sunni Wakf Board and Nirvani Akhara write to the Supreme Court for a negotiated settlement to the Ayodhya dispute
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.