Right since the beginning of the emergence of Nitish Kumar as a powerful political force in Bihar and national politics, he has often been enjoying the blessings of ‘Viprit Rajyog’ in his chart of karmas and destiny. Thus can it be summarised in the language of astrological dictum.
To clarify it further, he got his strength and unmissable political clout quite often from the power of his adversary, apart from what he had himself earned for himself mostly during his first practical stint as chief minister of Bihar from 2005 to 2010.
He is the one and the only top political leader of this country who has held to power continuously for over twenty years now without even enjoying a social support base of over five to six percent.
That’s an extraordinary achievement. To top it all, he has been able to do it without attracting any express corruption charge individually upon him at any stage in these years.
In addition, what is more interesting is that he has been able to sail his boat by switching sides at his will. He joined politics during JP agitation alongside Lalu Yadav, stayed with him for a number of years, and left him later in company with George Fernandes in 1994 where he became part of the Samta party. Later, he sailed together with George Fernandes even when he later formed JDU along with Sharad Yadav’s JD (S) and Ram Vilas Paswan’s Jan Shakti party in the year 2003.
As a smart, cool-headed, refined political leader of his generation, he played his political moves so well, at different intervals of time, in choosing his friends and alliances at such ease that it always yielded very effective results for him.
It was evident since his initial emergence as a chief ministerial candidate in the year 2000 and even before that when he moved out of Janta Dal almost together with George Fernandes.
Nitish Kumar became a trusted friend of George Fernandes from the days of the formation of Samta party after his differences with Lalu Yadav and his group. He was later amply awarded for that with his gaining of ministerial positions in the BJP led govt headed by Vajpayee Ji from 1998 to 2004 in all its successive governments till 2004. It was in between this period that he took a plunge into Bihar politics in the year 2000 when he with the support of the BJP formed a government in Bihar, which unfortunately didn’t last over seven days because of the minority status of the alliance he led then.
But it didn’t hurt him, as he was again accommodated in the union ministry by the Vajpayee govt.
Later Nitish Kumar had an unhindered reign in Bihar since 2005 till date, in between only a gap of few months during which Jitan Ram Manjhi warmed his seat of chief ministership for Nitish Kumar.
The most interesting story lies here in the fact that Nitish Kumar ran his unhindered rule both in alliance with his one-time arch enemy Lalu Yadav and BJP.
Now comes the story of Nitish Kumar’s harboring of ambitions of becoming the prime ministerial candidate during or post 2024 elections.
In this context, it can very well be said that if he chooses and plays his cards well, as it seems he is doing so, he can definitely be one of the formidable contenders from the opposition camp. But whether he would succeed there or not that seems very difficult for now.
A tough struggle would be to be nominated as a prime ministerial candidate from the opposition camp. Nitish Kumar will have to play his last card to win the race there.
Apart from the national party, Congress in the opposition camp, there are many other powerful contenders there. Apart from Mamta Banerjee, Sharad Pawar, Akhilesh Yadav, Mayawati, maybe even Uddhav Thackeray, Navin Patnaike, there may even emerge a dark horse at the eleventh hour.
But these things apart, even if he wins the game of being nominated as a prime ministerial candidate, it would be almost next to impossible to eventually become the prime minister from the opposition camp.
Anybody who is nursing the ambitions of becoming the prime minister must have a pan India acceptance. Besides, his or her party must at least win the largest number of Lok Sabha seats, even if it does not win the majority number. These things appear to be difficult for Nitish Kumar, given the present scenario.
Many things however would depend on how the other political parties get agreed upon him.
This is only when Prime Minister Modi loses the elections, which is most unlikely.
But who has seen the future? Who knows, maybe Nitish Kumar’s Viprit Rajyog’ may play the trick again when the day of destiny hits the right chord in 2024.
The author is a political analyst. Views expressed are personal.