Topic Of The Day:-“Plunger In A Churn: Nitish Kumar And Bihar Politics”

Nitish Kumar’s Manoeuvres Have Been Forcing Other Parties In Bihar Into Realignments

If politics in Bihar is in continual churn, then the plunger in the barrel is Nitish Kumar, the Chief Minister and leader of the Janata Dal (United). Each time Mr. Kumar ditches an old friend or chooses a new ally, the other parties are forced into a realignment. The latest to shift camps is Upendra Kushwaha’s Rashtriya Lok Samta Party. After the BJP and the JD(U) reached an agreement on sharing an equal number of seats for next year’s Lok Sabha election, the other allies of the BJP felt squeezed for space in the National Democratic Alliance. With the BJP, which won 22 of the 30 seats it contested in 2014, cutting down its own share of the seats in order to make room for the JD(U), both the RLSP, which won all its three seats in the last election, and the Lok Janshakti Party of Ram Vilas Paswan, which won six of its seven seats, were expected to do the same. But more than the LJP, the RLSP found the situation uncomfortable as Mr. Kushwaha had built his party in opposition to Mr. Kumar over the last five years. The BJP made no serious attempt to retain the RLSP within its fold, in a way glad that the pressure on the process of allocation of the 40 seats in Bihar would ease a bit. If the NDA got crowded after the entry of Mr. Kumar and the JD(U), the alliance led by the Rashtriya Janata Dal remained a mahagathbandhan only in name. Both Mr. Kushwaha and Hindustani Awam Morcha’s Jitan Ram Manjhi, a former ally of the BJP, were easily accommodated by the RJD-Congress combine in the mahagathbandhan.

In a way, the exit of Mr. Kushwaha has strengthened the bargaining power of Mr. Paswan and the LJP. The LJP seems unwilling to surrender any of its sitting seats to accommodate the JD(U). Like many of the other parties in Bihar, the LJP has switched sides often, choosing between the Congress and the BJP on the basis of how it reads the political winds. With the RJD steadfastlywooing the LJP, the BJP has been trying hard to keep the party within the NDA. The bilateral agreement with the BJP was a victory of sorts for the JD(U). It was very much the senior partner in the NDA right until 2013, when it broke away from the BJP, protesting against the nomination of Narendra Modi as the prime ministerial candidate. But since then the party appears to haveconceded a lot of ground to the BJP. Another change of alliance partners for the JD(U) is unlikely. As things stand, the RJD may not entertain such an option. The JD(U) has been the most important player in Bihar’s politics in the last 13 years, but Mr. Kumar’s room for politicalmanoeuvre is now severely limited. The plunger might have just done its last churn in the barrel.


1) churn

Meaning : shake (milk or cream) in a machine in order to produce butter.

Synonyms : shaking

Antonyms : Still

Example : “the cream is ripened before it is churned”

2) plunger

Meaning : a person who gambles or spends money recklessly.

Synonyms : gamester

Antonyms : hesitator

Example : “he is a plunger when it comes to spending money for news”

3) ditches

Meaning : get rid of or give up.

Synonyms : gutters

Antonyms : ridges

Example : “plans for the road were ditched following a public inquiry”

4) ally

Meaning : a state formally cooperating with another for a military or other purpose.

Synonyms : associate

Antonyms : rival

Example : “debate continued among NATO allies”

5) squeezed

Meaning : firmly press (something soft or yielding), typically with one’s fingers.

Synonyms : compressed

Antonyms : expanded

Example : “Kate squeezed his hand affectionately”

6) contested

Meaning : engage in competition to attain (a position of power).

Synonyms : compressed

Antonyms : expanded

Example : “she declared her intention to contest the presidency”

7) retain

Meaning : continue to have (something); keep possession of.

Synonyms : keep

Antonyms : abandon

Example : “Labour retained the seat”

8) accommodated

Meaning : (of a building or other area) provide lodging or sufficient space for.

Synonyms : adapted

Antonyms : blocked

Example : “the cottages accommodate up to six people”

9) bargaining

Meaning : negotiate the terms and conditions of a transaction.

Synonyms : deal

Antonyms : give

Example : “he bargained with the local council to rent the stadium”

10) steadfastly

Meaning : in a resolutely or dutifully firm and unwavering manner.

Synonyms : firmly

Antonyms : drolly

Example : “the manager steadfastly refused the offer”

11) sorts

Meaning : a category of things or people with a common feature; a type.

Synonyms : types

Antonyms : disturbs

Example : “if only we knew the sort of people she was mixing with”

12) conceded

Meaning : admit or agree that something is true after first denying or resisting it.

Synonyms : approved

Antonyms : confronted

Example : “I had to concede that I’d overreacted”

13) manoeuvre

Meaning :a movement or series of moves requiring skill and care.

Synonyms : trick

Antonyms : tautness

Example : “snowboarders performed daring manoeuvres on precipitous slopes