Another big trouble for INDIA coalition: Is Nitish Kumar going to join the BJP alliance? Here's what we know!

The political landscape of the opposition INDIA (Indian National Developmental Inclusive Alliance) coalition has taken a tumultuous turn for the past two days with its senior leaders backtracking their support to forge a formidable force to take on the Modi regime ahead of the 2024 Lok Sabha poll, which is scheduled to take place during the period of April-May. 

The scenes in the opposition bloc were truly causing collision in the coalition, giving a strong talking point to the BJP to build its campaign, days after having a significant momentum of inaugurating the Ram Temple in Ayodhya, Uttar Pradesh. The INDIA bloc has nearly thirty parties and while the Congress is the largest party, most of parties are regional ones, ruling a state. Their unity and strength have been on a litmus test since their formation and as the election nears, the moves from key leaders to part ways with the alliance in their states have sparked a jolt and divide. 

On Wednesday, West Bengal Chief Minister and Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee has declared that her party will not contest with the Congress alliance in West Bengal in the Lok Sabha polls. The political friction between both the parties over seat sharing in West Bengal had eventually triggered Banerjee to rules out with the Congress party. 

Hours after Mamata Banerjee's statement, Arvind Kejriwal's Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), which is a key stakeholder in the INDIA bloc, has declared that the party would contest alone in Punjab in the general elections, leaving the Congress in a lurch. AAP is ruling Punjab after defeating the Congress in the assembly polls and its Chief Minister Bhagwant Singh Mann has announced that the party will not contest the general elections in Punjab in Congress's alliance. 

Within a day after enduring double whammies, the INDIA coalition has been bracing up another big trouble that now comes from Bihar. Nitish Kumar, the Bihar Chief Minister and one of the architects of the united opposition, is said to be mulling to leave the bloc and join the BJP-led NDA (National Democratic Alliance). The development has sparked strong speculations about Nitish Kumar's exit and also sparked debates about the uncertain future of the opposition bloc. 

According to reports, Nitish Kumar is planning to join the BJP alliance but the central ruling party has putforth a huge condition to Nitish Kumar that he must quit as the Chief Minister to join the BJP alliance. For Nitish Kumar whose political influence is stumbling, this condition has left him hanging. The pollster Jan Ki Baat has quoted the sources saying that Nitish Kumar is set to return to the NDA and is working out with the legal options to dissolve the state assembly. 

As Nitish Kumar is mulling for a reviving his ally with BJP, he is less likely that he would attend Congress leader Rahul Gandhi's 'Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra' that will enter Bihar on January 29. It is pertinent to note that Nitish Kumar had an association with the BJP years ago and he had exited the saffron party two years ago. Now, ahead of the crucial assembly polls, he has thrown a shock to the opposition bloc over his plan to join the BJP alliance. 

Nitish Kumar's recent and apparent jibe at the Congress party put more weight behind the speculations that he is moving to switch sides. On Wednesday, Nitish Kumar had attacked the INDIA bloc by questioning the Congress-led UPA regime at the centre (from 2004 to 2014) for not responding to his repeated requests to award the nation's highest civilian honour, Bharat Ratna, to socialist leader Karpoori Thakur. 

He referred to the Modi administration's latest move to confer the Bharat Ratna on Karpoori Thakur, who was a social reformer and former Chief Minister of Bihar. Nitish Kumar has also attacked dynastic politics and highly praised Prime Minister Narendra Modi for awarding Bharat Ratna to Karpoori Thakur, posthmously. Political observers had said that Nitish Kumar's 'dynastic politics' attack had indirect reference to former Bihar Chief Minister Lalu Prasad Yadav, whose five family members are in politics, including his son Tejashwi Yadav, who is the Deputy Chief Minister of Bihar. 

Addressing a rally organised by Nitish Kumar's party on Karpoori Thakur's centenary birth anniversary on Wednesday, Nitish Kumar said as quoted by Times Of India, "Ever since coming to power in Bihar, I kept on requesting the governments at the Centre for this - to award Bharat Ratna to Thakur till 2023. Ultimately, the present Narendra Modi government fulfilled my demand for which I thank both the central government and Prime Minister Modi." 

Speaking about dynastic politics, Nitish Kumar said, "These days, many people are more focussed about promoting their own family in politics, but Karpoori ji never did that in his life. I also have never promoted my own family, rather I care about pushing others from the party." It is also be noted that though Nitish Kumar's party and Lalu Prasad Yadav party's are now in an alliance in Bihar, Yadav's party had organised a separate event to mark the centenary anniversary of Karpoori Thakur.