‘Paltu Ram’: INDIA Bloc Comes Down Heavily On Nitish Kumar’s Politics Of ‘Shifting Loyalties’

Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar's fourth switch within a decade has drawn severe criticism from the opposition leaders, who slammed him for 'betraying' the alliance ahead of Lok Sabha elections

Bihar CM and JDU chief Nitish Kumar may join hands with BJP again Photo: X/@INCIndia

Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar’s turn to BJP, yet once again, is being seen as a blow to not just the ruling alliance or Mahagathbandhan in Bihar but to the INDIA opposition alliance as well – which Nitish Kumar spearheaded along with other senior leaders to take on the BJP in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections.

His fourth switch within a decade has drawn severe criticism from the opposition leaders. The Congress, RJD, DMK, JMM, TMC, AAP, and other parties of the INDIA bloc on Sunday slammed Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar for "betraying" the opposition alliance ahead of Lok Sabha elections after he joined hands with the BJP, with some even calling him a "chameleon" and "Paltu Ram" for frequently changing sides.

All major partners under the Bloc received major setbacks with his stunning volte face, less than 18 months after he parted ways with the BJP and formed the 'Mahagathbandhan' government in Bihar.

Speaking to the media, Congress MP Sashi Tharoor said, "It (Nitish Kumar’s exit from the INDIA alliance) is certainly a setback in Bihar, but the fact remains that in politics there are ups and downs. I think in many ways it will redouble the determination of the people elsewhere as well as in Bihar to fight for the right things in the right way.” He further added, "The problem is that some individuals clearly have not been able to make up their minds where they stand on the political spectrum and what they want to see happening in this country.”

Commenting along similar lines, NCP president Sharad Pawar said people will give a befitting reply to the politics of "frequently shifting loyalties" being played by Kumar. In a video statement, Pawar said it was Kumar who initiated the process to bring the Opposition parties together and had invited them to Patna.

"He was working for the unity of Opposition parties till 15 days ago. It is not known what happened suddenly," he said. In a swipe, Pawar said Nitish Kumar had made a record of sorts in changing loyalties. "This has never happened before. Earlier the phrase 'Aaya Ram, Gaya Ram' became famous in Haryana," he said.

Lashing out at Kumar, Congress general secretary Jairam Ramesh said it is clear that a "political drama" is being created to divert attention from his party's Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra.

He said it is clear that the prime minister (Narendra Modi) and the BJP are "scared" of the yatra being undertaken by Rahul Gandhi, which is set to enter Bihar. In a post on 'X in Hindi', Ramesh said, "Nitish Kumar, who frequently changes political partners, is giving a tough competition to chameleons in changing colours."

The people of Bihar will not forgive this "expert of betrayal" and those who are making him dance to their tunes, he said.

Ramesh, however, said the INDIA bloc is strong, and "we will unitedly fight against the BJP and all parties like DMK, NCP, TMC and SP will fight it together".

The TMC said Kumar is "known for his political somersaults at regular intervals" and asserted that people will respond to such "opportunism". "It is unfortunate that he has decided to quit the opposition grouping INDIA and is likely to join the NDA. The people will give a befitting reply to such political opportunism," Trinamool Congress MP Sougata Roy said.

Uddhav Thackeray-led Shiv Sena faction Sunday said the country is seeing the rule of "Paltu Rams" and not Ram Rajya as it took a jibe at the BJP and JD (U) chief Nitish Kumar after the latter dumped the grand alliance in Bihar and returned to the NDA fold.  

Shiv Sena (UBT) leader Sanjay Raut alleged the BJP engineered the break-up of the Bihar alliance, and that the party is the biggest threat to democracy. "Union home minister Amit Shah had said that even if Nitish Kumar comes to the doors of the BJP with folded hands, we will not ally with them," Raut told reporters in Chhatrapati Sambhajinagar district. 

To a question about the 'Bihar Chief Minister's statement that nothing worked as per his plan in the INDIA bloc,' DMK leader T R Baalu asked: "What did he plan? He did not spell out any plan, he said only Hindi should be spoken and only that (message) remains."

Elaborating, Baalu, a DMK Lok Sabha member and leader of the Parliamentary party said: "He (Nitish Kumar) said everyone should talk in Hindi. We tolerated it. Even then, we kept quiet, as a compromise, for the sake of cordiality in the alliance. It was said that English must not be spoken. This is an ordinary matter (hinting at politics). It is okay."

The DMK leader's reference was to one of the INDIA bloc meetings in which Nitish Kumar reportedly stressed on use of Hindi.

DMK organising secretary R S Bharathi asked: "What is the guarantee that Nitish Kumar will continue with the BJP alliance till the Parliament election? Let us wait and see." Dubbing Nitish Kumar as 'fickle minded,' Bharathi said the Bihar Chief Minister's image has 'gone down' among the people.


Kumar on Sunday took oath as Chief Minister of Bihar for a record ninth time after a dramatic volte-face, ditching the Mahagathbandhan and the opposition bloc INDIA and forming a new government with the BJP, which he had dumped less than 18 months ago.