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 bête 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

Congress 'promises' cancellation of Adani power project: Jharkhand elections

Counterview Desk
Pointing out that people's issues take a backseat in Jharkhand's 2019 assembly elections, the state's civil rights organization, the Jharkhand Janadhikar Mahasabha, a coalition of activists and people’s organisations, has said that political parties have largely ignored in their electoral manifestos the need to implement the fifth schedule of the Constitution in a predominantly tribal district.

Gujarat refusal to observe Maulana Azad's birthday as Education Day 'discriminatory'

By Our Representative
The Gujarat government decision not to celebrate the National Education Day on !monday has gone controversial. Civil society organizations have particularly wondered whether the state government is shying away from the occasion, especially against the backdrop of "deteriorating" level of education in Gujarat.

Hindutva founders 'borrowed' Nazi, fascist idea of one flag, one leader, one ideology

By Shamsul Islam*
With the unleashing of the reign of terror by the RSS/BJP rulers against working-class, peasant organizations, women organizations, student movements, intellectuals, writers, poets and progressive social/political activists, India also witnessed a series of resistance programmes organized by the pro-people cultural organizations in different parts of the country. My address in some of these programmes is reproduced here... 
***  Before sharing my views on the tasks of artists-writers-intellectuals in the times of fascism, let me briefly define fascism and how it is different from totalitarianism. Totalitarianism is political concept, a dictatorship of an individual, family or group which prohibits opposition in any form, and exercises an extremely high degree of control over public and private life. It is also described as authoritarianism.
Whereas fascism, while retaining all these repressive characteristics, also believes in god-ordained superiority of race, cultur…

Ex-World Bank chief economist doubts spurt in India's ease of doing business rank

By Rajiv Shah
This is in continuation of my previous blog where I had quoted from a commentary which top economist Prof Kaushik Basu had written in the New York Times (NYT) a little less than a month ago, on November 6, to be exact. He recalled this article through a tweet on November 29, soon after it was made known that India's growth rate had slumped (officially!) to 4.5%.

With RSS around, does India need foreign enemy to undo its democratic-secular fabric?

By Shamsul Islam*
Many well-meaning liberal and secular political analysts are highly perturbed by sectarian policy decisions of RSS/BJP rulers led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, especially after starting his second inning. They are vocal in red-flagging lynching incidents, policies of the Modi government on Kashmir, the National Register of Citizens (NRC), the demand for 'Bharat Ratna' to Savarkar who submitted 6-7 mercy petitions to the British masters (getting remission of 40 years out of 50 years' sentence), and the murder of constitutional norms in Goa, Karnataka and now in Maharashtra.

Rushdie, Pamuk, 260 writers tell Modi: Aatish episode casts chill on public discourse

Counterview Desk
As many as 260 writers, journalists, artists, academics and activists across the world, including Salman Rushdie, British Indian novelist, Orhan Pamuk, Turkish novelist and recipient of the 2006 Nobel Prize in literature, and Margaret Atwood, Canadian poet and novelist, have called upon Prime Minister Narendra Modi to review the decision to strip British Indian writer Aatish Taseer of his overseas Indian citizenship.

Girl child education: 20 major states 'score' better than Gujarat, says GoI report

By Rajiv Shah
A Government of India report, released last month, has suggested that “model” Gujarat has failed to make any progress vis-à-vis other states in ensuring that girls continue to remain enrolled after they leave primary schools. The report finds that, in the age group 14-17, Gujarat’s 71% girls are enrolled at the secondary and higher secondary level, which is worse than 20 out of 22 major states for which data have been made available.

Worrying signs in BJP: Modi, Shah begin 'cold-shouldering' Gujarat CM, party chief

By RK Misra*
The political developments in neighbouring Maharashtra where a Shiv Sena-NCP-Congress government assumed office has had a trickle down effect in Gujarat with both the ruling BJP and the Congress opposition going into revamp mode.

Post-Balakot, danger that events might spiral out of control is 'greater, not less'

By Tapan Bose*
The fear of war in South Asia is increasing. Tensions are escalating between India and Pakistan after the Indian defence minister's announcement in August this year that India may revoke its current commitment to only use nuclear weapons in retaliation for a nuclear attack, known as ‘no first use’. According to some experts who are watching the situation the risk of a conflict between the two countries has never been greater since they both tested nuclear weapons in 1998.

'Favouring' tribals and ignoring Adivasis? Behind coercion of India's aborigines

By Mohan Guruswamy*
Tribal people account for 8.2% of India’s population. They are spread over all of India’s States and Union Territories. Even so they can be broadly classified into three groupings. The first grouping consists of populations who predate the Indo-Aryan migrations. These are termed by many anthropologists as the Austro-Asiatic-speaking Australoid people.