This Nitish Kumar vs Narendra Modi is an old fight, which both Nitish Kumar and Narendra Modi seem to have used to further their political ends.
While Nitish tries to project his image as a secular leader due to political compulsions in his turf of Bihar where Muslims constitute approximately 16.5% of the population and thus are politically significant, Modi has been Hindutatva’s poster boy always! With this tension between their political motives, rests of the fights between them align along the same lines.
For the novice, Modi is Chief Minister of Gujarat state and a member of BJP while Nitish Kumar is Chief Minister of Bihar and a member of Janta Dal United (JD (U)). BJP and JD (U) are part of the opposition alliance NDA that was in power at the center in 1999-2004.Also JD (U) is in power in Bihar with support from BJP.
#1 Their Rivalry dates back to 2009 Lok Sabha Campaign when there was a tacit understanding between BJP and JD (U) to keep Modi out from campaigning in Bihar. Likewise Sushma Swaraj, leader, BJP reiterated in 2010 Bihar assembly elections that the ‘old arrangement’ will continue which meant Modi did not get to campaign in 2010 Bihar Assembly elections either.Thus in this round of Nitish Kumar vs Narendra Modi, Nitish won.
#2 In the year 2010, Modi’s supporters in Bihar published an ad in the leading newspapers with praise for Modi who gave Rs.5 Crores to the Kosi flood victims. This irked Kumar big time who returned the cheque to Modi back and washed his hand off the entire exercise by canceling a dinner at the last minute, which he held for top BJP brass.This made things worse between Nitish Kumar and Narendra Modi.
3# Its not only Nitish who tries hard to dissociate himself from Modi, Modi have given it back too. Early this month on 10th June, Modi took digs at politicians from Bihar and Gujarat who he said, ‘resort to caste based politics’. To which Nitish retorted that Modi should mind his own business.
#4 It was in response to this ever-brewing tension that Nitish Kumar has now made it clear that JD (U) will leave NDA if Modi is BJP’s Prime Ministerial candidate. He said, “PM candidate should be secular”. Although all the remarks were indirect but they were meant for just one person-Modi.This is the latest round in Nitish Kumar vs Narendra Modi fight where rounds of heated exchanged have been their on both sides, with RSS firmly behind Modi.