Eminent historian Ramachandra Guha is known for his deep and witty observations. This time, he has hoped that JD(U) chief Nitish Kumar, also the chief minister of Bihar, takes over the Opposition's leadership and the grand old party gets rid of its current face, which is ineffective.
The Indian political scenario has become so one-sided that one has to now think out of the box to help normalcy crawl back. The last time when the country's politics had seen an individual or party dominating overwhelmingly was during the era of Indira Gandhi but even then, the Opposition's position was not so much hapless as it is today. Despite their small stature, the Opposition had rallied around the great Jayaprakash Narayan to beat the iron lady after she had made the nation suffer during Emergency.
Today, the Opposition is so toothless that it can't capitalise on any opportunity that the government gives it, be in form of demonetisation, jobless growth, cow vigilantism or terrorism. The BJP is winning states after states and the Congress, which is supposed to lead from the front, is becoming irrelevant.
At this time, the prescription of making Nitish, a disciple of JP, the main face of the Opposition will make sense for many. Although there would also be objection from the purists as to how Nitish could lead the party which had his guru had fought once, but that is more of a secondary question.
Nitish Kumar is not meant for Opposition politics
The real issue with Nitish Kumar's leading the Opposition is somewhere else. Even if we assume that the Congress picks Nitish as the face of the Opposition at the expense of the Gandhis, it would not mean an automatic shift in its gears. We have already witnessed that Nitish Kumar has backed a number of steps that Modi has taken and that speaks volumes about the man's thought process.
Nitish Kumar is not meant for Opposition politics. He is known more to be a leader who stays in power or sides those who are in power. The independent-minded administrator in the JD(U) chief will never allow him to thrive as an Opposition leader, just as we can't really imagine Modi as one.
Nitish Kumar will not really indulge in anti-Modi movement just for the sake of it because he knows to be a successful administrator and win people's trust, he has to replicate a lot of things that Modi does.
CM Nitish was once the closest competitor to chief minister Modi
The Bihar CM was the closest competitor of Modi during the latter's tenure as the chief minister of Gujarat and debates were held as to who ran a better model of governance.
Nitish Kumar, thus, has a positive image of an administrator and since Modi, too, is a popular leader who already has quite a big following even after three years of stay in power, it automatically reduces Nitish Kumar's chances of making an alternative place for himself in the national politics.
Also, Nitish Kumar is a regional leader who doesn't have a mass following beyond the confines of his own state. That makes his chances of capitalising on pan-Indian issues against the government even lesser.
Nitish Kumar's recent spat with the Congress proves that the man hates mindless Opposition as the grand-old party often indulges in. Being the tallest leader in his own state, it is logical for him to have a disdainful attitude towards those who make little impact on the real and hard-fought politics.
Neither will Nitish get the kind of backing Modi got from BJP
The man will never have the kind of backing Modi got from his hard-working and smart colleagues from the UPA in the race to beat the incumbent PM. Guha has said that Nitish is a leader without a party and the Congress is a party without a leader. Does the Congress really make a better party than the JD(U)?
We hope Guha comes up with more such interesting observations that will also give us the freedom to imagine in an otherwise predictable model of Indian politics propelled by the eternal communal-secular divide. Though the reality will always be drastically different.