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Mar 18, 2013 at 06:05pm IST

Nitish is keeping his options open at this stage: Sankarshan Thakur

Is Nitish's assertion of a non-Congress, non-BJP coalition feasible? Sankarshan Thakur, senior journalist joined IBNLive readers for an interaction on the issue.

Q. I feel regional parties to form the next govt in center will not do good for India as the nation. I wish only national parties either BJP or Congress should come to power with alteast simple majority if needed for the day. your opinion Asked by: vasanthi

Nitish is keeping his options open at this stage: Sankarshan Thakur

Is Nitish's assertion of a non-Congress, non-BJP coalition feasible?

A. I would agree with you, but only partly. I think it is essential to have a strong core to any formation that governs India, especially with the currently challenges the economy poses. But regional parties will necessarily play a role, whichever formation takes power after the next elections. Both the Congress and the BJP have yielded space to regional parties over the years and I do not see either of the two major parties being in a position to form government on their own. I will not be surprised if both of them shrink in numbers and regional parties grab the spaces vacated by them.

Q. Can Nitish win Bihar without BJP or in alliance with congress I believe it could be suicidal. Asked by: balaji

A. Tough call. It will all depend on the timing and the terms of the divorce with the BJP, should that come at some stage. It is part of how difficult it is to measure the consequences of such a move that Nitish is holding himself back. Bihar is a very complex polity and one little mis-step could tilt things drastically this way or that. Don't forget, Nitish, the BJP and the Congress are not the only ones in the equation. There is also Laloo Yadav's RJD, which still leads the opposition in Bihar and keeps a substantial vote-share. Any sense that Nitish will give in to Narendra Modi could shift the Muslims back whole-hog to Laloo and that will be a major gain for the RJD leader. On the other hand, Nitish will have to keep a measure of what his losses in the upper caste vote base be should he part with the BJP.

Q. Is Nitish hinting at a 3rd front? If so, the third front will have parties like Left front, AIADMK, TDP, TMC, SP or BSP, JDU, dont you think there are too many PM candidates in the 3rd front. What's your take? Asked by: Adarsh

A. I actually disagree with the proposition of the chat we are having. Nitish may not be hinting at an anti-BJP, anti-formation. He is a consummate politician, he is keeping his options entirely open at this stage and he can afford to. But on the evidence of the Ramlila rally yesterday, he was clearly giving a come-hither signal to the UPA, on the express condition that Bihar be grated special category status. This rally must rank as the only major rally by an Opposition formation that has not even bothered criticising a government at whose doors it was knocking. If you ask me, at the moment, Nitish is saying his support is up for grabs but on his conditions.

Q. Hi Sankarshan, Third front is a distant reality, as all the contenders in that front want to be PM like Mulayam, Nitish, Lalu, Mayawati. So why you believe Nitish is thinking of a third front? Asked by: Rakesh

A. I don't , I just said so.

Q. Hi Shankarsan, If Nitish fights 2014 without BJP, what is the chance of Laloo bouncing back in Bihar, and who will have edge in Bihar among BJP, JD(U) and Lalu-LJP-Congress? Asked by: Neel Kamal Singh

A. Good question, but I already answered it in a fashion. I think if Nitish were to continue to play ally to the BJP, even if they cleverly don't name Modi as Prime Ministerial candidate, there is every possibility the minorities in Bihar will shift back to Laloo.

Q. What is the Rationale in Nitish Kumar saying that Narendra Modi is communal and AB Vajpayee and LK Advani are Secular? Alos does Nitish Singh is ubale to realize that if he cuts off his Alliance with BJP Lalu prasad Yadav will be the main beneficiary?Will he not loose his CM Post immediately? Asked by: Raghava Rao Karavadi

A. On Narendra Modi: Please read up what happened in 2002. Also read up what has happened in Gujarat with the delivery of justice thereafter. I also believe Nitish Mumar has been a practicing politician more years to get a measure of things himself. He does not need journalists like me or anyone else to point out to him what he may be missing out in analysing his political future and moves. Also, I believe with Nitish Kumar it is not merely a matter of losing power. It is also a matter of what his political background is and what he is setting himself up to be. So I think it is untenable for him to go on under Modi's leadership.

Q. As someone who cannot vote for the BJP for its communal and corporate agenda and is increasingly irritated by Congress (I)'s arrogance and pro-business stand, I definitely want a secular left of centre alternative in Indian politics. However can such a formation survive without ideological coherence between its constituents? Isn't it important for the official left to provide an ideological fulcrum for such a formation. Asked by: Ankur Datta

A. At the moment, the Left is struggling to find its own fulcrum, dear. The Left, or Left voices, are very critical in a country like ours where disparities are so immense and social inequity almost built into the system. Precisely what Nitish was saying about the divide between India and Bharat, the blessed states and the backward states. But realpolitik is seldom an ideal situation so people will have to make choices.

Q. Hi Sankarshan ! Don't you think that forming a "non-congress" alliance will eventually become a part of UPA if 2014 LS elections experience a deficit in confidence for congress and BJP both? Asked by: Abhishek Yadav

A. It could go either way, will depend on the numbers the BJP and Congress get.

Q. If Congress grants special status to Bihar now, do you believe that Nitish is not intelligent enough to understand why Congress doing it now and not earlier (Congress wants JD(U) support for 2014).. so why do you think Nitish still hinting at providing support to Congress in 2014? Asked by: Rakesh

A. I would not take a wager on Nitish's intelligence, my dear.

Q. Don't you think Nitish becoming power hungry and he will become another Chandra shekhar(late PM) in spoiling non congress parties hopes? Asked by: sarin

A. And what do you come to politics for? Power is the way you get to implement what you believe in. And who is not "power hungry"? Name me a politician.

Q. Sir, don't you think that Nitish Kumar and Congress have made some deal to keep away Narendra Modi from becoming a PM candidate? Asked by: Shyam Vadalker

A. Could be, who knows? Remember we are dealing with politicians. Recall how the nuclear deal got passed? One ally went out of the UPA, another was brought in. Dealmaking happens all the time.

Q. Don't you think it is sad that Nitish is getting into this one-upmanship game, in the context of NaMo, using "special status for Bihar" as a bogey. As far as a non-BJP, non-Congress coalition is concerned, that is wishful thinking by Nitish. He is well within his rights to demand any sort of special status for Bihar, how seriously his demand will be taken, by the Government in Delhi,is another matter. Asked by: ashwin angirasa

A. Nitish is in politics, he is the chief minister of a state and what he is doing is, to his mind, what he needs to do to take his people to the next stage of development. And if he is making a point about him being more inclusive than Narendra Modi, I think he has a right to do that, and good reasons to.

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