How will the NDA's boat cross the capsizing boat?

How Will the NDA's Boat Stay Afloat?

In the 2024 Lok Sabha elections, JDU has once again proven to be a crucial ally for the BJP in Bihar, diminishing the influence of Lalu-Tejaswi. Bihar, with its 40 Lok Sabha seats, saw the BJP and Nitish Kumar’s JDU contesting together for the first time with BJP fielding more candidates than before.

A Tough Battle for NDA

The 2024 Lok Sabha election results have clarified the political landscape. The BJP-led NDA faced a stiff challenge from the Congress-led All India Alliance. While the NDA has secured a majority, the BJP alone fell short of forming the government, garnering around 240 seats, well below the 272 needed for a majority. This has intensified the spotlight on Bihar's Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, known for his political maneuverability.

The Role of Regional Parties

The election has highlighted the significant role of regional parties, as no single party secured an absolute majority for the first time in a decade. In previous Modi governments, regional allies were part of the administration but were given limited influence. Now, with the BJP winning fewer than 240 seats, the party must rely heavily on its allies. Nitish Kumar’s JDU, winning 12 out of 16 contested seats, becomes pivotal in the coalition.

Nitish Kumar's Political Influence

Nitish Kumar’s role in the central government formation is crucial. Speculations suggest that if Nitish switches sides, the opposition might have a chance to form the government. The opposition India Alliance, with 232 seats, is still short of a majority, making every potential ally significant. Nitish Kumar’s unpredictable political moves add uncertainty to the BJP’s prospects.

Nitish Kumar's Political Journey

Nitish Kumar has been a central figure in Bihar politics for two decades, often changing alliances based on political convenience. His career began with the Janata Party in the 1970s. Despite frequent shifts, he maintains a political balance, switching sides between the BJP and the Congress-RJD alliance as it suits him. His alliance with the BJP began in 1998 and continued until 2013, when he allied with Lalu Prasad Yadav and the Congress in 2015, defeating the BJP in the state elections.

In 2017, Nitish rejoined the BJP, but after the 2020 assembly elections, he shifted back to the Congress-RJD alliance in 2022. Initially, Nitish was instrumental in forming the India Alliance against Narendra Modi, hosting the first meeting in Patna. However, he rejoined the NDA just before the 2024 elections.

The Future of NDA with Nitish Kumar

In the 2024 elections, Nitish Kumar's JDU won 10 seats while being part of the NDA. With the BJP falling short of a majority, Nitish's support is critical for the NDA’s stability. If he stays, it benefits the BJP; if he switches sides, it could destabilize the NDA. The BJP may form a government with his support, but Nitish Kumar’s history of political shifts raises questions about the coalition's long-term stability. The NDA's future relies on managing such unpredictable alliances.