Despite one of the quickest political transitions in Bihar, Chief Minister Nitish Kumar could not stop the spread of dissatisfaction in his Janata Dal (United). Though the unrest in the party burst out in Delhi within hours after the JD(U) president swapped partners, it is unlikely to have any major bearing on his trust vote that is slated for 11 am on Friday.

And yet, the speed with which he abandoned the mahagatbandhan – or the grand alliance with the Rashtriya Janata Dal and Congress – and joined hands with the Bharatiya Janata Party has actually damaged his image. Or so many of his party colleagues believe.

It created suspicion in the minds of a substantial section of the JD(U) and led three members of the party to declare that Kumar did not consult the party’s office-bearers and that it was his individual decision to team up with the BJP, the political outfit they had fought against in the Assembly election in 2015.

“Nitish-ji did not consult the party office bearers before taking such a crucial decision,” said JD(U) member of Parliament Ali Anwar after his meeting with party’s senior leaders and Rajya Sabha members Sharad Yadav and MP Veerendra Kumar on Thursday. “It was his [Kumar’s] individual decision. Sharad-ji is upset and has said that he will take a decision after consultations with senior leaders in a day or two,” Anwar added.

Murmurs of dissent

While Sharad Yadav has so far maintained a stoic silence on the development in Bihar, Veerendra Kumar, who is also the JD(U)’s Kerala unit chief, said, “He (Sharad Yadav) told me that there is no question of accepting the present stand of Nitish Kumar.”

The JD(U) has claimed that its flock in Bihar would remain together, some party leaders are of the view that Kumar’s failure to take the party into confidence before deciding to switch over to the BJP has shocked many state legislators, including 11 who happen to be Yadavs and five belonging to the minority community.

Given the anti-defection law, it is unlikely that these MLAs would play spoiler in Friday’s trust vote, but their inability to digest quick changes unleashed by Kumar may keep the tension alive inside the JD(U).

Three of these MLAs, while preferring not to be quoted, expressed their reservations against Kumar’s decision to become part of the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance, but one of them – Poonam Devi Yadav – talked openly.

“Whatever is being done in the name of [former deputy chief minister] Tejashwi [Yadav]is not fair. He has been made a scapegoat,” she said. “Instead of using him in the game of politics, we should have acted in a dignified manner to explain the circumstances that led to the decision to form a coalition government with the BJP. That would have been better for the party,” Poonam Devi Yadav added.

The JD(U) insiders also feel that by putting everything on fast track, Kumar has inadvertently sent out a message that power is all that matters to him and that he can do anything to save his post.

The lightening speed with which Kumar caused political realignment has not only shocked and awed his party men as well as his opponents, forcing all to remain busy with the happenings, but it has also ensured that the game he started so meticulously will not end with Friday’s trust vote.