BJP may have decided to play safe by not naming its chief ministerial candidate in Bihar but there's no denying that former Deputy CM Sushil Modi tops the list of probables.
Unquestionably, Sushil Modi knows the ins and outs of Bihar politics and is familiar with the state like the back of his hand. Furthermore, he is one among those prominent BJP leaders who have their roots in Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh.
Notwithstanding his close association with the Sangh, he is recognised as a liberal leader – for his inter-religion marriage with Jessie George, a Christian.
Sushil Modi’s political career has moved parallel with that of Nitish Kumar and Lalu Prasad Yadav’s.
He too stepped into politics during his student years and later joined the JP Movement much like the two Grand Alliance partners. During Emergency, he was kept in jail for 19 months continuously.
A major credit for ouster of Lalu’s government in Bihar goes to him as he had tirelessly fought against the RJD chief involved in fodder scam.
In 2005, when NDA came to power many had speculated that Modi will spearhead the government, but the BJP decided to make JD(U) chief Nitish Kumar the chief minister, a decision it regrets today.
As the then deputy chief minister and finance minister of Bihar, Sushil Modi carried out some substantial reforms that brought positive changes in the state’s revenue sector. In 2013, when Nitish decided to walk out of NDA, many had presumed that Modi will side with him. But, once again displaying his unwavering loyalty, he chose the BJP.
Besides being a man of letters, Modi also fits in all other criteria required to be the perfect choice for the BJP’s CM candidate.
However, if the party chooses to bring in a parachute CM candidate - if it wins the polls - like it did during Delhi elections, it may turn to be a grave mistake. The party may have to face the wrath of Sushil Modi’s supporters who are quite upbeat about him likely to get the plum post.
Yet, it’s not a cakewalk for him as there are several of his challengers for the post of the chief minister within the BJP and outside. His contenders within the party are nursing the dream of clinching the top post silently.
He has a cut-throat competition in Nand Kishore Yadav, Ravi Shankar Prasad, Shahnawaz Hussain and Rajiv Pratap Rudy. Not to forget, Jitan Ram Manjhi and Ramvilas Paswan may also be in the race from outside the party.
Unaffected by BJP’s refusal to name its CM candidate, Sushil Modi has found a way out to project himself as the party’s face.
Making the most of the social media, he is attacking the Nitish-Lalu alliance through his posts which have no mention or picture of any other national or state BJP leader.
Moreover, in a way to display his strength, he recently launched his book ‘Beech Samar Mein’—his account of his Emergency days.
It seems, Sushil Modi is in no mood to give up easily this time.