Skip to main content

Whither ideology in power politics? Nitish Kumar "feared" Lalu Prasad Yadav would diminish his stature in the eyes of Bihar masses

By Faraz Ahmad*
I don’t claim a copy right to this Urdu couplet: “Pahunchi wahin pe khaak jahan ka khameer thha.” Actually I don’t even know the poet who composed this one. But I recall when Jamaate Islami chief Maulana Abul Aala Maudooodi died in New York, the Urdu daily ‘Masawat’ the party organ of the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) , had a screaming eight column banner headline in red ink announcing Maulana Maudoodi’s death in United States of America (USA) with this couplet.
Ironically for all the supposed anti-US and anti-imperialist vituperation and rhetoric Mauddoodi indulged in in his Friday (khutba) congregations, he like many others of our sub-continent men suffered from typical racial inferiority complex besotten by fair skin and therefore took a white American as his wife.
It comes back to me in the context of Bihar strong man and chief minister Nitish Kumar’s latest, though much anticipated somersault discarding the secular Mahagathbandhan and embracing back his alma mater the Sanghi Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP). I saw this coming and warned of such an eventuality. The only issue is why did he in the first place ditch the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) in 2013 and suddenly don a secular gown when he was with the Sanghis since 1994, first deserting at their instance the Janata Dal and initially surreptitiously but 1996 onwards, openly aligning with the BJP.
After breaking with the BJP, Nitish led the Janata Dal-U to a disastrous defeat in the general elections in Bihar in 2014. Pretending to be a leader with a conscience he resigned the chief ministership, made his trusted protege Jitan Ram Manjhi belonging to the Most Backward caste (MBC), the state chief minister but couldn’t stay away from power for long.
On September 30, 2013 when the CBI court in Ranchi convicted Lalu for 5 years in fodder scam and thereby disqualified him from Parliament membership for a period of five years, the RJD accused the JD-U of complicity in securing Lalu’s conviction even accusing the concerned judge of nursing a bias because of his close proximity to a Bhoomihar JD-U minister in Nitish’s cabinet.
Yet Lalu extended support to a doddering JD-U government when Nitish junked Manjhi and became chief minister again in 2015 (though Lalu warned Nitish of the adverse political fallout of undermining a MBC leader) and thereafter Nitish aligned with Lalu for all the supposed corruption taint on Lalu.
It didn’t end here. After the elections he made both sons of Lalu the younger and brighter one Tejaswi and the older simpleton Tej Pratap Yadav ministers and went a step further appointing the young inexperienced Tejaswi his Deputy chief minister.
Curiously the charges leveled by the “caged parrot” Central Bureau of Investigations (CBI) against Tejaswi, Lalu himself and wife Rabri Devi were based on a complaint made by a close confidant of Nitish, Rajiv Ranjan Singh ‘Lalan’, who submitted to the then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in 2010 a written complaint against Lalu for his alleged acts of corruption when Lalu was the country’s Railway minister from 2004 to 2009 and even Harvardians admired his foresight and capability.
Nitish Kumar and Ram Vilas Paswan, both political turncoats, have despised Lalu for towering over them politically
It is obvious that Lalan, a proxy of Nitish, merely articulated Nitish’ envy at Lalu’s success. It is common knowledge in political circles that both Nitish Kumar and Ram Vilas Paswan, another political turncoat, also currently enjoying Modi’s lap, have despised Lalu for towering over them politically and could not digest Lalu being acknowledged by the world as a competent administrator as well. Both had been Railway ministers before Lalu and never enjoyed this reputation.
That file was lying dust covered in the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) when Narendra Modi retrieved it and directed the CBI to pursue the case vigorously evidently to nip in the bud the possible unity of disparate Opposition groups against him. There is a story in that as well. But let us not digress from why and wherefore Nitish Kumar performed this dramatic political somersault once more.
So it is clear that Lalu’s corruption or supposed fear of tarnishing his clean image was far from NItish’ mind when he started turning his back to Lalu. That was merely a ruse. Nitish had started showing his true colours as a Trojan horse when he first commended Modi for the so-called surgical strikes against Pakistan in September 2016, and then enthusiastically supported Modi’s sudden, tyrannical whimsical move to scrap the five hundred and one thousand currency notes, turning a blind eye to the misery and suffering of the poor and down trodden whom Nitish claimed to represent.
Actually it required a man of Nitish’ stature and clean image to come out and forcefully criticize in public Modi’s decision to penalize vast sections of population virtually castigating all of us as corrupt unless proved otherwise. This was a Godsend for a Nitish Kumar to build a profile against Modi. Instead he supported this atrocious move and restrained Lalu Yadav from holding public meetings and agitations against demonetization. Lalu, presumably to avoid embarrassing Nitish, relented.
Besides, it does not lie in the mouth of a person to talk of corruption, who being a seasoned politician and having witnessed the fall out of total prohibition in Gujarat, how a parallel black economy runs there for decades thanks to rampant bootlegging, goes ahead and enforces his prohibition diktat the same way Modi enforced ban on five hundred and one thousand rupee notes. Friends from Patna inimical to Lalu also say that already bootlegging has become big business in Bihar and the enforcement agencies are having a field day, every day. Significantly Modi was quick to compliment Nitish on that.
The day Nitish Kumar broke ranks and announced support to a rank Sanghi Ramnath Kovind it became apparent that Nitish returning to NDA fold was but a matter of time which, as is evident, did not take too long. For someone who left the NDA on the specious plea of secularism after bedding the Sanghis for 17 long years, it was disconcerting at the very least to jump immediately to support a rank Sanghi who had no other merit, except his lifelong association with the RSS. He was not even a leader of some consequence in the BJP. But that is where power play undermines ideology, if there be any.
Nitish Kumar has poured cold water poured on any hopes of a combined strong Opposition challenging Modi in 2019
But the moot question is why did Nitish first part company with the BJP and then four years later returned to it, without a whimper and in such haste! Evening 5 pm he goes and submits his resignation to Governor Kesri Nath Tripathi who receives orders from Delhi to stay back to meet Nitish and not to entertain the RJD or any of its leaders and without wasting any time; next morning 10 am he is sworn in back as the Bihar chief minister leading a BJP-JD(U) coalition. And by Friday morning took the mandatory vote of confidence also.
It seems both he and Modi feared any delay might upset their predetermined game plan. Obviously Nitish and the BJP were apprehending some kind of rebellion or public protest in the JD-U which became apparent after his confidant Anwar Ali went public attacking the move while Sharad Yadav merely privately chafed at that.
I believe there were two factors, first envy and second the desperation to retain power at any cost, which guided Nitish’s action. He knew that Modi was moving fast to finish off Lalu Yadav politically, imprison not just Lalu but perhaps also his wife, sons and daughter and may be many more in Lalu’s large family. This would have had repercussions with the RJD on the streets making Lalu family a victim of Modi’s vindictive politics.
This act of the play is yet to be staged presumably on August 27 when Lalu has given a call for a big rally in Patna’s Gandhi Maidan and invited Sonia Gandhi, Mayawati and Akhilesh Yadav to address that rally. He had also offered to send Mayawati to the Rajya Sabha back on the strength of his party in the Bihar assembly. 
All this would have enhanced the stature of a supposedly “tainted” Lalu Yadav, thus diminishing Nitish's stature in the eyes of the Bihar masses, whether he attended Lalu’s rally while in alliance or kept away from it. So he had to distance himself from Lalu well before this rally and stop that rally as best as he can.
Same was the case when he left the NDA. He had no quarrels with Sushil Kumar Modi who has always been happy playing second fiddle to Nitish. He is on record to say that he would have been happy to support Advani’s candidature for PM and the grapevine has it that Arun Jaitley had been privately sounding him that in the event of a hung Parliament the BJP could even support his candidature for PM if the numbers fell short of forming a Government and other parties refused to support Advani’s candidature. But Narendra Modi’s growing stature was something which left no doubt in Nitish mind that he could no longer nurse the dream of one day becoming a national leader.
So the best thing was, like his bĂȘte noire Ram Vilas Paswan to suddenly turn secular and oppose Modi. But then being a shrewd politician by now he realized there was no scope for a non-BJP government at the Centre in 2019 and his stature was being undermined by Lalu and so the best option available to him was to return to Modi with his tail between his legs.
As for the BJP, what more it could have wished?
Opposition should now prepare for a very long haul of Hindu Rashtra, thanks to a secular Nitish Kumar
Naturally there was jubilation in the saffron camp. Narendra Modi immediately tweeted congratulating Nitish and Sushil Modi came trooping in with the entire BJP legislature party to dine and raise a toast to Nitish with Gau Mootra, for liquor is prohibited in Bihar and Gau Mootra has magical medicinal qualities.
The Governor, Nitish and the BJP, none wasted a minute to form the Government and within 24 hours also went through the assembly trial of strength to foreclose any possibility of a rebellion or protest in the party. Here in Delhi insiders suggested that even though Sharad was not very comfortable, Arun Jaitely has offered him a lucrative portfolio in Modi’s cabinet. What else would power seekers want?
Yes this appears to have poured cold water on any hopes of a combined strong Opposition challenging Modi in 2019. So prepare for a very long haul of Hindu Rashtra, thanks to a secular Nitish Kumar.
---
Source: https://faraz1951.wordpress.com/2017/07/28/nitish-back-with-the-bjp/

Comments

TRENDING

Economist-editor's allegations on Narmada defamatory, baseless: Medha Patkar

Counterview Desk  In a reply directly addressed to well-known economist, journalist and columnist Swaminathan S Anklesaria Aiyar’s two articles in the Times of India (republished here and here ), calling them defamatory and wondering whether they were borne out of “ignorance or a conspiracy through political alliance”, Narmada Bachao Andolan leader Medha Pakar has said that the Narmada Sardar Saravar Project and the people's movement by adivasis, farmers, labourers, fish workers, potters and all the generations’ old communities from the river valley have suddenly come to be focused on, since the Gujarat elections are in the doorstep. She believes that while the “defamatory accusations with baseless conceptions such as ‘urban naxals’ are to be laughed at as the electoral strategic moves, one gets shocked to read the articles by a known old columnist like Swaminathan Ankalesaria Aiyar, published in a reputed daily like the Times of India." According to her, Aiyar’s two articl

Hindutva groups threat to peace, freedom: US diaspora groups tell FBI, other govt depts

By Our Representative  The Islamophobic and neo-Nazi ideology of Hindutva is a clear and present danger to peace and freedoms in the United States, a coalition of civil rights organizations told key officials of the U.S. Attorney General’s Office, the US Department of Justice (DOJ), and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) at a recent event in Edison, New Jersey. At the event titled United Against Hate, activists from American Muslims for Democracy (AMD), Hindus for Human Rights (HfHR) and Indian American Muslim Council (IAMC) made detailed presentations on this ideology of Hindu supremacism that is committing mass persecution of India’s Muslims and Christians and is rearing its ugly head in New Jersey as well as across the US. Attending the event were David S Leonardis, Special Investigator from the New Jersey Department of Law & Public Safety; Michael E Campion, Chief of the Civil Rights Division for the US Attorney General's Office; and Jonathan R Norbut of the U.S. Dep

Facing tough times, Rajasthan's Raika herders hold first-ever camel cheese festival

By Rosamma Thomas*  During the pandemic, the annual Pushkar camel fair in Rajasthan did not occur for fear of contagion; in 2022, it was called off again as lumpy skin disease affected cattle. At Sadri in Pali district, however, festivity continues – a two-day Camel Cheese Festival was held on November 23 and 24, 2022. Visitors spent time with the camel herds and their Raika, drank camel-milk tea with the herders and then returned to lunch at the Kumbhalgarh Camel Dairy, from where the Kumbhalgarh Fort is visible, to taste camel cheese. The Raika herders have been facing a tough time – camels are no longer used as much for transport or agriculture in Rajasthan. The animals have limited utility, but their milk is prized. Camel Charisma, the dairy at Kumbhalgarh, sends camel milk across the country to people who use it in therapy – for autistic children, improved blood sugar levels, or even to treat cancer. It is believed that the health benefits of the camel milk is because the animals

Buddhist shrines were 'massively destroyed' by Brahmanical rulers: Historian DN Jha

Nalanda mahavihara By Our Representative Prominent historian DN Jha, an expert in India's ancient and medieval past, in his new book , "Against the Grain: Notes on Identity, Intolerance and History", in a sharp critique of "Hindutva ideologues", who look at the ancient period of Indian history as "a golden age marked by social harmony, devoid of any religious violence", has said, "Demolition and desecration of rival religious establishments, and the appropriation of their idols, was not uncommon in India before the advent of Islam".

As polls approach, electorate 'failing to realise': Gujarat model is in a shambles

By DN Rath*  Gujarat assembly elections, scheduled to be held on 1 and 5 December 2022, is viewed by many as dress rehearsal for the 2024 Lok Sabha elections. When the suffering people have been pointing towards redressal of some local issues like absence of cleanliness, sewage problem, shortage of water supply, troubles created by stray cattle, insufficiency of streetlights, etc., it is evident that they are not fully aware that assembly elections are being fought on ideological standpoints and policy decisions. Nor is there the realisation that the state is in a shambles and the much-trumpeted ‘Gujarat model’ of development has proved to be a hoax. Like other states, the people of Gujarat are also back-broken by steep rise in prices to the tune of 400% in last 20 years. It is not that the government cannot control the spurt in prices if it so wants. Apart from the fact that price rise is an inevitability in a capitalist economy, artificial shortage triggered by massive hoarding, b

Shedding Hindu-Hindi-Hindustan? New Modi-Shah love for Tamil Nadu 'ignores' Periyar

By Sandeep Pandey*   The Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS) or the Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) have long argued for ‘Hindu-Hindi-Hindustan’, which into recent years has translated into a crisper English expression: ‘One Nation-One Religion-One Language’. Given this backdrop, it is curious that the BJP government has organised the Kashi Tamil Sangamam in Varanasi, the Prime Minister’s constituency. Why did the BJP and RSS feel the need for such an event? All Narendra Modi events are highly publicised and have multiple political objectives. It is never an innocuous religious/cultural event as it may appear from the face of it. Afterall, RSS calls itself a cultural organisation, but has never ceased to surprise us with its political designs. Tamil Nadu has a long history of opposing imposition of Hindi by Union governments. Periyar EV Ramasamy had opposed the idea of compulsory teaching in Hindi as far back as in 1937. The 1960s witnessed violent protests against Hindi in which a number

Amit Shah accused of inciting communal passion: Demand to postpone Gujarat polls

Counterview Desk  In an email representation to the Election Commission of India (ECI), Dr EAS Sarma, former secretary to the Government of India, has objected to the statement reported to have been made by Union home minister Amit Shah, who allegedly justified the 2002 Gujarat riots stating that certain sections of people “taught a lesson” to the rioters. Noting that the statement, if correct, “in effect implies those other than the law enforcement authorities had taken law into their hands”, Sarma says, “Shah's statement needs to be viewed by the ECI in conjunction with the reported fact that it was the Union Home Ministry that cleared the release of the eleven rape convicts in the Bilkis Bano case, directly related to the infamous Godhra incidents in 2002, which triggered the shameful sequence of events that shook the nation's conscience.” According to Sarma, if the statement is true, “I am constrained to draw the inevitable inference that it would have already impacted th

BJP poll gimmick? Bilkis Bano rape case 'pardon' vs Rajiv assassins' release

By Sandeep Pandey*  Supreme Court has released six convicts in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case. This was bound to happen as earlier AG Perarivalan was released in the same case, setting a precedent. Even though four of them are Sri Lankans but a popular Tamil sentiment favoured the release of these convicts which is why Tamil political parties supported this and resolutions were passed by different governments in Tamil Nadu to his effect.  Rajiv Gandhi paid the price of sending Indian Peace Keeping Force to Sri Lanka where it got entangled with Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam and eventually the whole operation ended up is a fiasco.  However, most importantly Sonia and Priyanka Gandhi and probably Rahul too do not have any objections to the release of these convicts. In fact, Sonia Gandhi played an important role in getting the death sentence of the only lady among the convicts Nalini commuted to life term through the Tamil Nadu Governor. Priyanka visited Nalini in Vellore Jail and

Diminishing returns: Hydro projects contribute less than 10% of India's power generation

Counterview Desk  Pointing out that India’s hydro generation remains around 10% for the last six years, the advocacy group South Asia Network on Dams, Rivers and People (SANDRP) has said that power generation from hydropower projects continues to show diminishing returns, as has been the story close to three decades now. Yet, says SANDRP in a note, the Government of India continues to push large hydro by announcing a slew of additional subsidies for hydropower projects, more for political economy reason. In fact, attempts are being made to flog unviable hydropower projects with various kind of manipulations, illegalities and violations, it adds. Text : In last six years, from 2016-17 to 2021-22, India’s large hydropower projects (projects above 25 MW installed capacity) have contributed just around 10% of the total power generation, going as low as 9.68% in 2017-18. In fact, in three of these six years, large hydro contributed less than 10% and recovering only marginally in the rest,

Odisha survey reveals 56% children have not attended any classes post-pandemic

By Our Representative   The Learning Recovery Programme (LRP) has been taken up by the state government's Odisha School Education Programme Authority (OSEPA) to provide a learning opportunity to students to make up for losses in studies due to the closure of schools on account of the Covid-19 pandemic. However, lack of awareness among children and their parents and absence of robust monitoring have blocked its effective implementation, reveals a pilot fact-finding study conducted by the NGO Atmashakti Trust. The pilot study was conducted with school-going children in two blocks of the Nuapada district, where over 500 grassroots workers divided into 33 groups visited 68 schools in one day and interviewed 115 children to understand the implementation of LRP. The study was a part of its 26-day nationwide campaign, "Education Cannot Wait. Act Now!" which kickstarted on November 15, comprising Odisha, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh, where