Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar may have backed the candidature of Droupadi Murmu, the BJP’s choice for the next president, to the hilt but he is far from toeing the line of his saffron ally on each and every issue. Given his stand in the last two presidential polls in 2012 and 2017, when he defied his erstwhile coalition to vote for candidates of rival alliances—the UPA’s Pranab Mukherjee and the NDA’s Ramnath Kovind, respectively—all eyes were on the JD(U) stalwart recently but he played by the rulebook by backing Murmu’s candidature.
This time, however, the BJP did not leave any scope for Nitish to have second thoughts over NDA’s choice of a tribal woman as the next occupant of Rashtrapati Bhawan. But, as other political developments of recent times suggest, Nitish has been steadily trying to reassert his dominance within the alliance. He has taken a firm stand on several key issues, right from rewriting of history textbooks to the need for caste census, to apparently underline the fact that he is not ready to play second fiddle anymore.