If we are to learn anything from the NDA split we need to go back a few years – to the Lok Sabha.
Jaipal Reddy, now a UPA minister of science, was one of the Congress speakers during a debate around the time of the BJP's Babri Masjid campaign.
Here is what Reddy said. It's a longish quote.
'BJP: a party of moderates'
"We are not dealing with the BJP. The BJP is only a tip of the iceberg. The larger part of the iceberg is invisible. It is a hydra-headed creature called the Sangh Parivar which speaks in different voices deliberately.
"What do we do with that? How do you deal with that? I would like to know. I would like to be enlightened. The Sangh Parivar is a political orchestra.
"It is a political orchestra whose maestro is not in this House. The remote control is in Nagpur. It is not here. We are only talking to marionettes.
"Who says the Sangh Parivar is full of extremists. I do not agree with that. The Sangh Parivar is full of moderates. It is not full of extremists.
Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee is a moderate as compared to Shri LK Advani; Shri LK Advani is a moderate as compared to Dr. Murli Manohar Joshi; Dr. Murli Manohar Joshi is a moderate as compared to Kumari Uma Bharti; Kumari Uma Bharti is a moderate as compared to Shri Rajju Bhaiya (then RSS chief); and Shri Rajju Bhaiya is a moderate as compared to Shri Vinay Katiyar. It is, therefore, full of moderates."
Only a handful of Indians probably remember this, but Reddy's words have since become a definitive description of the BJP.
For Nitish Kumar the rise of Narendra Modi is like the choice the legendary stable owner Thomas Hobson used to offer. Take the horse in the stall nearest to the door or none.
There are many seniors in the BJP but Rajnath Singh is telling Nitish to go with Modi or none.
Those who have worked with Nitish will tell you he responds with extreme prejudice when robbed of choice. As he did when he split the NDA.
Nitish realises that Modi is important for the BJP. He recognises that Modi is crucial in Gujarat.
But he doesn't want to report to Modi.
Modi doesn't want to retire as the BJP's election campaign panel head. The BJP too doesn't see it as Modi's last station.
For Nitish, life would be unbearable with Modi in charge. Every day would've brought a fresh need to justify his alliance with Modi-led BJP.
Therefore, the JD(U) statement is trenchant and full of righteous wrath.
Image: Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar after a press conference in Patna on Sunday. JD (U) on Sunday announced separation from NDA after 17 years of alliance. (PTI)