Explained: Why Nitish Kumar is playing a lead role in Opposition unity talks
Bihar’s Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has criss-crossed the country over the past month. His long tour has taken him from Delhi to West Bengal and from Uttar Pradesh to Maharashtra, travelling with one goal: to persuade key Opposition leaders to unite against the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party for next year’s Lok Sabha polls.
The strategy behind Opposition unity is to field one joint Opposition candidate against that of the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance in as many Lok Sabha constituencies as possible. In theory, this is meant to consolidate the anti-BJP votes in those seats. Kumar’s recent meetings seem to have have yielded a more favourable response from Opposition leaders than previous similar attempts.
This initiative by Kumar, observers say, is meant to position him for a greater role at the Centre. These meetings put him ahead in that race among ambitious Opposition leaders. The reason Kumar has been able to take this lead is because other Opposition leaders remain tied down in their states and do not have his strong credentials, observers suggest.
However, others remain sceptical not only about what Kumar can achieve but also about the broader strategy of unifying the Opposition.
To unite the Opposition, Kumar and his ally, Rashtriya Janata Dal leader Tejashwi Yadav, had first met Congress…