BJP has done to JD(U) what Congress did to Samajwadi Party but there is a difference
Parallel meetings, verbal attacks on leaders of the same party, a divided house scrambling for control- scenes playing out in Bihar today are strikingly similar to what happened in Uttar Pradesh with the Samajwadi party ahead of the elections.
Aligning with the Congress proved costly for the SP in Uttar Pradesh while Nitish Kumar's decision to go with the BJP in Bihar has split his JD(U). Despite the two scenarios being very similar for the regional parties, the situation and most importantly the causes are very different.
The JD(U) today is a split house. Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar faced protests from his own men led by Sharad Yadav. Despite the protest, Nitish Kumar's faction of JD(U) passed a resolution to join the NDA. Sharad Yadav and his supporters boycotted the national executive meet. It reminds one of how a divided Samajwadi party cadre was torn between meetings called for by Akhilesh Yadav at his residence and party supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav at the party headquarters in the run up to the Uttar Pradesh polls.
While the scenarios are eerily similar, political analysts feel that the causes and context are very different. "It is undoubtedly a split but the context matters. The context is different in both cases. One (Samajwadi Party) was a family or dynasty split. The other is not. It is this fundamental issue that makes all the difference between the two," said Psephologist Dr Sandeep Shastri. He added that the concerns within the two parties were also very different politically.
How is SP split different from JD(U) split
"In the Samajwadi Party, the split was more to do with the old guard v/s the new guard, both in terms of leadership and those who decided to follow that leadership. In Bihar, the split seems to be between those who are rooted in Bihar and those rooted outside," added Dr Shastri. He implied that those who were engaged in politics within the state of Bihar stood by Nitish Kumar while those who were concerned with politics outside the geographical boundary were aligning with Sharad Yadav.
"Much of the JD(U) which is clubbed into state politics is strongly with Nitish. Many aligning with Sharad Yadav are invariably state units of other parties or those concerned with politics outside Bihar, say, the Parliament. Locus of political operation of two group is very different" Dr Shastri said.
Congress and BJP's respective role
Has the BJP done to JD(U) in Bihar what the Congress did to Samajwadi Party in Uttar Pradesh? While one may see a definite pattern, experts believe that the two scenarios are very different, In fact, the BJP may have had a direct role in splitting the JD(U) than the Congress had in dividing the SP.
"In Bihar, the role of a national party (BJP) is direct. The split has happened because one group decided to align with a national party, one that is in power. In Uttar Pradesh, however, the role of a national party (Congress) was masked. The real issue was largely family and dynasty politics. Aligning with the Congress simply became a mask to hide the family differences," he insisted.