A landslide win for the JD(U)-BJP combine in the Assembly elections has given Nitish Kumar another opportunity to rule the state of Bihar.
Engineer-politician Nitish Kumar blended his secularist ideology with pragmatic politics and combined the development plank with innovative social engineering equations in Bihar to bask in glory yet again.
Often called Chanakya for his political astuteness, the 59-year-old chief minister managed to beat the anti-incumbency factor to do an encore after today's landslide victory.
A socialist of Ram Manohar Lohia mould and a product of the JP movement in the seventies, Nitish has been the mascot of NDA's fight against the 15-year Lalu-Rabri rule in Bihar ending their reign in 2005.
For all the complex arithmetic of caste and creed that holds sway in election-time Bihar, Kumar was able to alter, if not altogether change, the discourse, hammering day after day on development and what he calls "naya Bihar."
Nitish worked on social engineering equations on the ground to woo the extremely backward castes, the mahadalits and in pockets of poorer Muslims carefully fashioning an alliance of these groups though there was virtually no mention of caste in his campaign speeches.
A seasoned and a down to earth man of simple tastes, Kumar, the wily craftsman of modern day politics, did the delicate balancing act keeping votaries of both hardliners in his party JD-U and BJP together notwithstanding his strong views on job reservations for OBCs and Dalit Muslims.
Considered an able administrator, Kumar's innings in the corridors of power began with his appointment as Union Minister of State for Agriculture and Cooperatives in the National Front government led by V P Singh in 1990.
Despite being instrumental in installation of Lalu Prasad as Chief Minister in 1990, Kumar's relations with the Yadav strongman came under strain in the years that followed, largely due to 'imperious' style of functioning of the RJD chief.