Nitish Kumar abandons Mahagathbandhan in Bihar: Congress' future just got darker

The Grand Alliance or the Mahagathbandhan in Bihar now lies in tatters and this could not have happened at a more inopportune time for the Indian National Congress.

In a series of embarrassing poll defeats since the Narendra Modi government came to power in 2014, Bihar polls had been one of the few exceptions in which Congress had got some good news, apart from a few other states and Union territories like Punjab and Puducherry.

 Nitish Kumar abandons Mahagathbandhan in Bihar: Congress future just got darker

File image of Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi. PTI

Even though Congress has not been politically relevant in Bihar for a long time now, the victory of the Mahagathbandhan — formed by Lalu Prasad's RJD, Nitish Kumar's JD(U) and Congress — in Bihar polls was an important step for the Grand Old Party to revive itself and reclaim its lost national relevance for the 2019 Lok Sabha polls.

Now that Kumar has abandoned the Grand Alliance to leave Congress with RJD which is facing and has earlier faced corruption charges, Congress has lost importance in one of the very few states it could have talked about having relevance in.

And the party is aware of this fact. Unlike Lalu Prasad — who reacted bitterly and even alleged that his former ally Nitish Kumar had murder taint on him — Congress was still willing to cozy up to Kumar.

After all, even though Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said that "we are deeply disappointed by the news of the resignation of Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar", he also made it amply clear that "we, in the Congress party, particularly Congress president and party vice-president, have great respect and affection for Nitish Kumar."

Congress expressing "affection" for Kumar when Lalu is slapping murder charges on him at a time when Kumar has dumped both these parties is the biggest indicator of the fact that Congress is aware of the fact that its dark future just got darker.

Without Kumar, the Congress knows now that it is a huge step closer to political oblivion.

And as expected, Congress is planning to make a last ditch effort to persuade Kumar to withdraw his resignation, Hindustan Times reported. Sources from the Congress said in the report that the party did not rule out Sonia and Rahul Gandhi speaking to Kumar.

But the fact that Kumar told Congress general secretary in-charge of Bihar CP Joshi about his intentions only when he was entering the Raj Bhavan to submit his resignation instead of telling Rahul Gandhi about it when he met him on Saturday tells us a lot about whether Congress will be successful in saving the doomed Mahagathbandhan.

It is also worth noting that in the series of statements which Surjewala made, RJD or Lalu Prasad was not mentioned even once, which shows that Congress may be thinking about distancing itself from the RJD and the corruption charges Lalu and his family members are facing in the near future.

It will be nothing short of a miracle if the Congress somehow manages to put up even a good fight in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls because the Mahagathbandhan — the platform which Congress and other Opposition parties were looking up to for coming up with an anti-BJP front — is clutching the straws itself.

Follow the live blog on Bihar political crisis here.

Updated Date: Jul 27, 2017 10:17:05 IST