Nitish dumps BJP: Why winning polls may not matter anymore

NEW DELHI: Yet another state is ready to witness a midterm change of government. Bihar is all set to get a new government with Nitish Kumar dumping his pre-poll ally, the BJP, to once again join hands with Lalu Prasad’s Rashtriya Janata Dal.
While Nitish may have earned the dubious distinction of being called the Paltu Ram, Bihar is not the only state to see political parties toppling elected governments to form a new one mid-term.
Electoral victory in assembly elections is no longer a guarantee of a stable government for 5 years, especially if it is a coalition of parties. We have seen several instances of this happening in the last few years.
History repeats in Bihar
This is the second time in the last 5 years that Bihar has seen a midterm change of government. On both the occasions, it was Nitish Kumar who switched sides leading to the formation of a new government under his leadership. While the BJP benefitted the first time, the RJD and the Congress are set to gain now.
In 2013 Nitish dumped the BJP to join hands with the RJD and the Congress. Together they won the 2015 assembly elections. In 2017, he quit this alliance to return to the BJP fold and formed a new government. He won the 2020 assembly elections with the saffron party though with a hugely reduced mandate.
And now, he has dumped the BJP to once again embrace Lalu’s party. He has been elected as the leader of 7-party Gathbandhan.
In Maharashtra, the Shiv Sena-lled Maha Vikas Aghadi government was toppled after Eknath Shinde, a senior Sena leader, led a rebellion against the Thackerays. The Shiv Sena, which had contested the assembly elections with the BJP in 2020, dumped the saffron party after the pre-poll allies could not agree on the chief minister’s post. Uddhav later joined hands with the Nationalist Congress Party and the Congress to form the Maha Vikas Aghadi government.
However, two and a half years down the line, Eknath Shinde walked away with 40 out of 55 Shiv Sena MLAs and became the chief minister with the support of the BJP. While the BJP denied any role in toppling the Uddhav Thackeray government, Shinde went on record to reveal that he held midnight meetings with senior BJP leader Devendra Fadnavis to plan the rebellion. The rebel Sena MLAs got refuge in three BJP-ruled states – Gujarat, Assam and Goa – till they could effect a change of guard in Maharashtra.
In Karnataka, the Janata Dal (Secular)-Congress government led by HD Kumaraswamy lost power mid-term in 2019 after 17 MLAs of the ruling combine resigned. They later joined hands with the BJP to help Yediyurappa return as the chief minister of the state.
In the 2018 assembly elections, the BJP had emerged as the single largest party but was kept out of power as the Congress and the JDS decided to join hands.
Madhya Pradesh
The Kamal Nath-led Congress government in Madhya Pradesh lost power mid-term after senior leader Jyotiraditya Scindia rebelled against the party along with several MLAs. This paved the way for the return of the BJP government under the leadership of Shivraj Singh Chouhan. Scindia and his supporters later joined the BJP. The former Congress leader is now a minister in the Union Cabinet.

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