“Ant bhala to sab bhala” (All is well that ends well), this is how the Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar ended his speech at Damdaha Assembly constituency in Purnea district on the final day on Thursday of the election campaign for 2020. He was there to address an election meeting for the Janata Dal (United) candidate, Lesie Singh. Nitish surprised everyone not only on the ground but people across the country by stating that this is his last election and then said the above quoted line.
Analysts were quick to draw different conclusions. The opposition camp was prompt to interpret it as an acknowledgement of defeat by the Bihar chief minister while there are several others who are of the view that he wanted to play the emotional card so that many people change their mind and vote for him.
The leader of opposition in the Bihar Assembly Tejashwi Prasad Yadav, said that Nitish has conceded defeat. “I have already stated several times that Nitish Kumar has got tired,” he said adding that Nitish has accepted the reality. Congress spokesman Randeep Singh Surjewala also spoke in the same vein. However the reaction of LJP chief Chirag Paswan was much more critical.
He said Nitishji should explain as to what he had done to Bihar in the last 15 years of his rule. It needs to be recalled that Nitish is not the first politician to end the campaign on that note. Captain Amarinder Singh of Punjab had in the 2017 election campaign also made a similar statement. He led the Congress to victory and became the chief minister. It is to be seen whether he stands by his public declaration. Several others in the past have not done so. Politicians have bounced back from retirement too.
After the dramatic announcement PM Narendra Modi wrote an open later to the voters of the state requesting them to elect Nitish CM once again.