Nitish Kumar blames Congress for weakness in Opposition

Nitish Kumar blames Congress for weakness in OppositionUpdated on : 03-07-2017 10:45 PM
Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Monday said he was not in the race to be a PM candidate for the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.


While speaking openly about opposition unity, Nitish Kumar said it should provide an alternative narrative based on "programmes" and "policies," rather than a re-active narrative. The JDU has sided with the NDA on the Presidential election, and the GST.

On Sunday, Nitish Kumar even suggested that the JDU could chart its own course. What is the political message of Nitish Kumar's comments.

The JDU's support for NDA Presidential candidate Ramnath Kovind has not only exposed the political rift in the Mahagatbhadhan in Bihar but has also raked up the fissures in the so called united opposition at the national level. Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has blamed the Congress for the shaky base of this unity.

So far the JDU and other members of the coalition have taken divergent positions on the presidential candidate and the GST midnight launch. Nitish going along with the NDA, while the Congress and RJD sticking to the opposition ranks. Nitish Kumar has said it was the Congress party's job as the largest opposition party to set a coherent opposition agenda that is "non-reactive".

It is clear from Nitish's statement that a united opposition has to be more than just a loose collection of opposition parties, it needs an alternative narrative.

At the JDU executive party meeting on Sunday, Nitish Kumar said the Congress Party had dented the impact of a combined opposition by its lethargy and inaction. He accused the Congress of deserting the principles of Mahatma Gandhi and Nehru while the JDU has remained steadfast to its own principles. Nitish categorically ruled out any desire to be the opposition's face for Prime Minister in 2019.

The BJP, while watching these developments suggests it is no longer a matter of 'if' but 'when' the mahagatbandan in Bihar will fall apart. The Congress on its part has advised Nitish Kumar to re-think his position.

Nitish fuelled further speculation of a rupture in the 'grand alliance' by saying at a party meeting on Sunday that the JD (U) was perfectly capable of charting its own course and was "nobody's camp-follower". He didn't name the Congress, but it was perfectly clear it was the Congress he was referring to.

The question is will the Congress leadership step up to the challenge of leading a united opposition into the 2019 polls...rather than opposing simply for the sake of it?

(SA - @03/07)

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