Has Modi's elevation caught Nitish plumb before wicket?

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Bangalore, June 10: What next for Nitish Kumar? His party suffered a serious jolt at the recent Maharajganj Lok Sabha by-poll and now Narendra Modi, the man against whom Kumar has been vocal to keep his secular image intact, has been elevated as the chief of the BJP's election campaign for the 2014 Lok Sabha polls. Will Kumar quit the NDA to protect his pro-minority image?

The decision won't be easy. The JD(U) tried to play down Modi's elevation as the BJP's internal affair but Kumar knows very well that the move has taken the psychological game to a critical stage where one wrong move could jeopardise the entire political plan.

The JD(U) leader's opposition to Modi didn't have a defence and he was bound to land in a spot once was ultra-offensive strategy failed. Like most other so-called secularist political players, Kumar had hoped that he could voice Modi out but he ignored the fact that he was competing against a national party's leader who has an increasingly growing acceptability.

The recent bypoll result has proved that unlike some of the neighbouring chief ministers like Naveen Patnaik and Mamata Banerjee, he is yet to reach a position where he can willfully kick out a national party from his government and rule alone.

Dump BJP or not? It won't be easy

Dumping the BJP would rob the party of its upper-caste votes while the RJD, which arch-rival Lalu Prasad is trying to revive desperately, is always in the waiting to a find a pound of flesh. The rift with the BJP over attacking Modi has reflected in the result of the by-poll and this makes other senior leaders of the JD(U) feel not to quit the BJP.

But if these are considerable issues, the other side is equally important for Kumar. Anti-Modisim is a necessary strategy for Kumar for if his party goes to the Lok Sabha polls under Modi's leadership and his secular image gets tainted, then there is a big possibility of him losing the minority votes and getting more dependent on the BJP for the survival of his own government in Bihar. There too, the RJD will be closely waiting for its chance.

The Congress is trying its best to make some gain at this point of time. The Congress earnestly believes that the JD(U) will ultimately leave the NDA and join its fold for Kumar is known for his stubborn stands and that he will not compromise with Modi.

Moreover, the JD(U) believes that its loss at Maharajganj was aggravated by the minorities turning away from it. The alliance with Modi's party is believed to be a major reason for it.

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