The Enigma of Nitish Kumar’s Reverence: A Political Chess Move or Genuine Submission?

M. I. Khan,

Patna: Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar’s act of bowing to Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the June 7 parliamentary party meeting of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) in New Delhi has stirred a flurry of reactions and speculation. While some view it as a customary gesture, others see it as a strategic move in the political landscape of Bihar.

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Kumar’s history of bowing to Modi dates back to previous instances, including the oath ceremony of Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath in 2022 and a request for central university status for Patna University in 2017. However, his recent act during an election rally in Nawada parliamentary constituency reignited debates and attracted criticism from Opposition leaders like Tejashwi Yadav of the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD).

Despite the public spectacle, Kumar’s short address at the NDA meeting emphasized Bihar’s pending development projects, hinting at the leverage he holds in the current political scenario. With 12 JD(U) MPs crucial for the Modi-led NDA government, the Bihar chief minister’s significance cannot be overstated.

However, past encounters between Kumar and Modi raise skepticism. In 2017, Modi dismissed his plea for central university status, indicating a history of disregard for Kumar’s requests. The sudden shift in dynamics, with Kumar seemingly acquiescing to Modi, prompts speculation about the future of their relationship.

Election strategist Prashant Kishor’s deleted tweets, showcasing Kumar’s deference to Modi, add intrigue to the unfolding narrative. In the aftermath of the Lok Sabha polls, Kumar’s role as a kingmaker amplified — raising questions about his demands for Bihar’s special category status.

While senior BJP leaders previously dismissed such demands, the post-election scenario demands Modi’s conciliation with Kumar. The possibility of Bihar gaining special status in exchange for the JD(U)’s support looms large — marking a potential turning point in the state’s developmental trajectory.

Local sentiments echo the urgency for Kumar to secure Bihar’s interests, with widespread support for his demand evident in regional newspapers. As the chief minister navigates this delicate political terrain, the expectations of his state’s populace align with his quest for special category status.

In the unfolding drama of Bihar’s political saga, Nitish Kumar holds the key to unlocking a new chapter in the state’s journey towards progress and development.