With the 2024 Lok Sabha elections approaching in less than two years, Patna has become an epicentre of opposition politics with Chief Minister Nitish Kumar taking a lead. The opposition politics was on display when Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao visited Bihar on Wednesday and met Nitish, as part of efforts to forge opposition unity and called for a ‘BJP mukt Bharat’.

The Bihar chief minister also asserted that a united opposition, which he is working on, will trounce the BJP in the 2024 Lok Sabha poll and “bundle it out for about 50 seats“. Kumar will be in Delhi on Monday before he begins visiting other states to meet leaders in a bid to unite the Opposition. He is also expected to meet NCP chief Sharad Pawar.

Amid Nitish Kumar’s bid for opposition unity, the politics in the state is in flux. In recent months, the state JD(U) broke its ties with the BJP and the Mahagathbandhan opened its arms to Nitish.

News18 takes a look at the mood of the state as it sees shifting alliances among parties and preparation to put out a united opposition in the next Lok Sabha elections.

Isolated BJP Spreads its Foot

After ally JD(U) snapped its ties with the NDA in Bihar, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is trying to strengthen its organisation in the state and remain alone. The party has called multiple meetings in the state attended by top leaders including Union ministers Ashwini Choubey, Giriraj Singh and Nityanand Rai, and the party’s senior leaders Ravi Shankar Prasad and Sushil Modi.

Union Home Minister Amit Shah is also scheduled to visit Bihar this month, for the first time since the coalition broke. The BJP also gave a blow to JD(U) recently as five of the six JD(U) MLAs in Manipur joined the BJP.

Upset Mukesh Sahni

Once a BJP ally, Vikas Insaan Party (VIP) chief Mukesh Sahni is miffed with the saffron party after its MLAs switched to BJP and he snapped ties with the NDA. Recently, Sahni attacked the BJP and called JD(U) alliance with the Mahagathbandhan as the end of divisive politics in Bihar.

According to a report in Dainik Jagran, Sahni claimed that he was approached by the BJP to mend its ties with VIP and he was called to Patna. However, the VIP chief said that he doesn’t have time to go to Delhi and the BJP leadership should come to Patna if they want to talk. He added that he will give a befitting reply to the BJP in the Lok Sabha elections.

Prashant Kishor’s padyatra

Political strategist Prashant Kishor has also announced that he will carry out a ‘padyatra’ beginning October 2 to uplift Bihar. The yatra, named as “Jan Suraj” (people’s good governance), aims to create an alternate political front in the state.

Kishor, who has been camping in the state in the last few months, has promised employment in the state and talking to people about their problems and possible solutions.

Shifting caste votes

The BJP won 39 out of the 40 seats in Bihar in 2019 Lok Sabha Elections. However, much has changed in the state in the last three years.

The RLSP, which gave the BJP the Kushwaha vote, has dissolved into the JD(U). The LJP, which had a significant Dalit vote, is split into two. The BJP has one faction with it, the RLJP (Rashtriya Lok Janshakti Party), headed by the party founder Ram Vilas Paswan’s brother Pashupati Paras.

Pashupati’s ability to deliver the founder’s Dalit vote bank to the BJP is very doubtful as Chirag Paswan has been trying hard to fight back against his uncle.

The current alliance of the RJD, JD(U), Congress and the Left Parties had proved a major challenge for the BJP in the 2015 assembly elections as the alliance won two-thirds of the seats giving a blowback to the saffron party that had won the Lok Sabha elections few months back in 2014. The alliance has a major chunk of Yadavs, Muslims, Kurmis, Kushwahas and other backward casts.

Chirag’s Bid to takeover Father’s Legacy

Former Union Minister Ram Vilas Paswan’s son and Lok Janshakti Party (Ramvilas) President Chirag Paswan has suffered major setbacks in the last few years after the poor performance of the party in the last assembly elections in Bihar and a split in party. Paswan’s LJP won just one seat in 2015 and the MLA later shifted to JD(U). His uncle Pashupati Paras rebelled against Chirag and party MPs sided with the later.

Chirag Paswan is trying hard to win his father’s legacy and the traditional Paswan votes which used to be the traditional vote bank of his father.

The LJPR leader has made clear that he has “no reason to ally with the BJP.” He has also hinted at a possible alliance with the RJD.

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