Nitish Kumar is set to take oath as the chief minister of Bihar on February 22, for the fourth time. The funny part is that the man will take this oath before the high-profile Bihar assembly elections have been held. Is it a consolation prize for the man for he might know that taking oath as the CM of Bihar after winning the polls looks increasingly difficult with each passing day? [Bihar might have found an alternative to Nitish and Lalu in Jitan Ram Manjhi]
The tussle against Jitan Ram Manjhi has caused a big damage to Nitish Kumar's poll prospects in the state. His biggest setback is that whatever social engineering he had done in the past to see him firmly placed in chief minister's chair is bound will go against him after the way Manjhi, a Mahadalit, was sidelined.
The Mahadalits constitute 21 of the 23 extremely backward classes (EBC) that Nitish Kumar had built in his socio-political scheme and had paid off well in 2010 when Nitish Kumar became the chief minister for the second term.
But Lok Janshakti Party chief Ram Vilas Paswan's going against Nitish Kumar and Manjhi's own arithmetic of bringing the Dusadhs into the Dalit-EBC vote bank are certainly going to create a new equation in Bihar politics.
The JD(U) will find it hard to get the EBC support in the next assembly election and the split between the OBC and EBC vote-bank could be a fatal blow to Nitish Kumar.
What does Nitish Kumar aspire to do as CM with a just few months left for polls?
The BJP will gain from the new equation which could see the Dalits joining the upper and middle classes of the BJP, something which resembles Bihar of the Congress era. Politicians like Nitish Kumar are bound to face the consequences if the vote-banks come together at some point of time for they flourish by playing the card of divisive caste politics.
The country had see how the Narendra Modi wave had left a unifying effect on diverse states like Uttar Pradesh and Bihar and left the local players clueless.
At least 60 of the 243 assembly seats are reserved and any political side going all the way to annoy the Dalits will do so at its own peril. The Nitish-Manjhi spar will give the BJP the biggest opportunity to grab power in the state by itself for the first time and make the JD(U) leader's third oath as the CM on February 22 a comic exercise.
For when the poll results will be declared, Nitish Kumar will have a bigger danger to fight and he might not know from where the danger could come.