Bihar's former Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi, who was the face of the BJP in Bihar politics for a long time, was once again sidelined by the party as he was denied a berth in the recent Union Cabinet in the reshuffle by the Modi government.Speculations were rife that Sushil Modi would surely be inducted in the Union Cabinet but he was left out, and it is perceived that it was due to his close proximity to current Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar.Political experts in Bihar say that now the era of Sushil Modi is over.Political analyst Manikant Thakur said: "Politics is cruel. When Narendra Modi's name was being discussed as the prime ministerial candidate, Sushil Modi was being identified as a leader supported by Nitish Kumar. Bihar BJP leaders also used to allege that Sushil Modi acted less as a BJP leader and more as Nitish Kumar supporter.""Such complaints against Sushil Modi were taken seriously after Narendra Modi became the Prime Minister and as the need of the hour, a strategy was planned out to cut him to size."The BJP top leadership also successfully worked out this strategy.Sushil Modi was first removed as Bihar's Deputy Chief Minister and nominated to the Rajya Sabha. After he was nominated to the Rajya Sabha, there were speculations that he would to be inducted in the Union Cabinet.
Generally, Sushil Modi has been identified as a fierce opponent of Rashtriya Janata Dal supremo Lalu Prasad and a close confidante to Nitish Kumar. It is believed that the BJP is now preparing to move ahead from the strategy adopted by such leaders.When several BJP leaders were asked to comment over Sushil Modi not being included in the Union Cabinet, they avoided giving a direct response. BJP spokesperson Nikhil Anand said: "BJP is a national party. Its policy has always been to serve people and nation building. There is no place in our party for serving one's own interests or other people's whims and aspirations."Anand, who is also BJP's Other Backward Class (OBC) Morcha General Secretary, says, "Since the independence of the country, Dalits, tribals and backward community of the society had never got such representation in the Union Cabinet as it has got during this year's cabinet expansion."He said the steps taken by Prime Minister Modi in favour of social justice will not only have far-reaching political impact but will give a new direction to the politics of the country."We are a major party where every party worker's task is fixed."However, Thakur says that the party has cleared a thorn in its armour by removing Sushil Modi from Bihar. "In my view, the BJP feels that with Sushil Modi's growing influence, Nitish Kumar may again strengthen his political career," he said.