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Nitish throws a googly at BJP, UPA

The political message given by the Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar from Mahatma Gandhi's karmabhoomi in Champaran on Wednesday can be construed as an application to fill the vacuum created by the withdrawal of support to the United Progressive Alliance [UPA] government by the Trinamool Congress. The message that he could support any dispensation at the centre which would give special status to Bihar, however left Kumar's major ally the Bharatiya Janata Party [BJP] bewildered, which realises that it needs expertise of a trapeze artist to keep a balance between ambition of Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi to lead the party in the next Lok Sabha polls and those, including Kumar, opposing it.

Addressing a public gathering, the Bihar chief minister said, 'I will extend support to anyone in the formation of the next government if it grants special status to Bihar.'

Kumar launched a campaign on Wednesday to demand the special status for his state, and with fluid political situation prevailing at the centre, the time was just appropriate to up the ante. The Janata Dal [United], unlike the BJP, looked to be in no hurry to force an early poll. While his colleagues in Delhi alleged that the Congress was pushing for early polls by forcing a situation where the Trinamool Congress boss Mamata Banerjee had to walk out, Kumar looked certain that the ruling party at the centre would manage to overcome the crisis. 'The Congress is adept at managing crises, but the longer this government survives the worse would be their fate in the next Lok Sabha election,' Kumar said.

On Wednesday, Kumar could well have taken his first move towards a non-Congress, non-BJP front and who knows it could be in partnership with Banerjee, with whom the Bihar leader enjoys a cordial relationship. With the JD[U] enjoying a majority in the Bihar assembly, Kumar can risk such a move with an eye on a much higher role for himself and his party after the next General Election whenever it comes.
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