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

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".

Upholding labour rights, Nehruvian scientific temper, Rajni Patel opposed Emergency

By Harsh Thakor*  Rajni Patel, who died 40 years ago, whatever his flaws, had one great quality: his human touch to offer selfless service and ability to galvanise or influence human beings from all walks of life. Few people would ever go out of the way to help someone or serve as selflessly without aim of personal gain. Rajni championed Nehruvian secular ideas and scientific temper. As a master in public relations he revealed utmost humility. As a barrister, he never appeared against the trade unions or workers. A Fabien Socialist he opposed liberal capitalism and radical socialism. Unlike most lawyers, he did not succumb to the lure of amassing wealth. Rajni was born in Sirsa, in Gujarat, on the very day Gandhi set foot on Indian soil, on 9th January, 1915. He gained his baptism through one of Gandhi's speeches calling for the boycott of foreign goods, which was the virtual turning point of his life. Rajni toed Gandhi to organise boycott of foreign goods. Rajni was able to cros

Targeting mosques, churches: 'Roadmap' for 2025, RSS' centenary year?

416 years old Our Lady of Health Church, Sancoale, Goa  By Fr Cedric Prakash SJ*  Fascists use manipulative strategies aimed at whipping up sympathy and support from the majority community, to which they normally ‘belong’. They do so in a variety of insidious and subtle ways. In the past few months, they have gone overboard in their efforts to denigrate and demonize minorities in India, particularly Muslims and Christians. They have spewed hate and divisiveness through their venomous speeches; incited people to violence and have effectively used officialdom to further their vested interests. The results are there for all to see: greater polarisation of the majority community in a country which prided itself for its pluralism and diversity. Their meticulously planned agenda is in order to gain absolute power of the country in the 2024 national elections. More so it is also a roadmap towards 2025 when the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) will complete one hundred years of its existence.

Vadodara violence: Fine Arts Faculty alumni raise fingers at Varsity's political appointee

Hasmukh Vaghela with PM Counterview Desk  In a statement, alumni of the Faculty of Fine Arts (FoFA), Maharaja Sayajirao University (MSU), Baroda, Gujarat, referring to the “violence” by right-wing groups for displaying “objectionable” paintings that “hurt religious sentiments” at the one of India’s top fine arts institute May 5, have taken strong exception to “the assault and rustication” of one of the students, and lack of action taken against those who “violated” the institution and committed the act. Floated as an online petition seeking wider support, the FoFA alumni, in their statement, addressed to the vice chancellor, MSU, said, there should be “thorough” investigation in the whole incident and “immediate action” should be taken against syndicate member Hasmukh Vaghela, MSU, who sparked the assault, and “other co-conspirators” for breaching “university code of conduct and unlawful activities committed in broad daylight”. While the alumni statement doesn't say so, Vaghela

Gyanvapi case: Use of 'illegal' lawfare to keep the communal pot simmering

By Venkatesh Narayanan, Bobby Ramakant, Manoj Sarang* With a steady drumbeat of bad news for the lives of ordinary citizens --  inflation at a multi-year high , rupee at an all-time low , negative job creation and when all forward indicators as seen by industry leaders point to recessionary clouds on the horizon , what’s a serially-incompetent government to do?  Dust out their time-tested-citizen-distraction playbook. The Gyanvapi-Masjid case is all of this -- as a weapon of mass distraction. This zeitgeist of our times is best captured by a recent opinion piece : "The idea is to keep the pot on a perpetual boil, simmering at the top, whirling feverishly beneath. A restless society forever living precariously on the precipice arouses distrst, uneasiness, fear and discomfort, That is a toxic panoply for manufacturing rage, which can then be effortlessly mobilized at short notice. BJP is creating an eco-system of real-time instant delivery of hate-mongers. That is how we are sudde

World Bank proved right, Narmada is already a destructive project: Medha Patkar

By Rajiv Shah  Narmada Bachao Andolan leader Medha Patkar has said that the World Bank’s independent review mission, which brought out the Morse Commission report , has been proved right: The Sardar Sarovar dam has not only failed to live up to the loud promises made for irrigating large arid areas of Saurashtra and Kutch in Gujarat, those who were displaced and resettled in Gujarat are getting increasingly restive as many of them are unable to get the promised water for irrigation and some for drinking water too. While 50,000 families have been resettled in three states and 20,000 have received land rights as land or cash, the authorities have not calculated what should be done with 15,000 families, whose houses are acquired for Sardar Sarovar but following changing backwater levels of the Sardar Sarovar dam, they are denied rehabilitation, Patkar tells Counterview in an interview (part1*): *** Q: What is the latest position in your view as far as the Sardar Sarovar dam is concerned?

UK leader cites Indian farmers' struggle one of top global fights against neoliberal order

Counterview Desk  Jeremy Corbyn, member of the UK Parliament, former leader of the UK Labour Party and founder of the  Peace and Justice Project , in his  inaugural speech to the  Progressive International’s  Summit at the End of the World on May 12, 2022, has said, what is happening across globe suggests that "image of apocalypse -- bombs and raids, oil spills and wildfires, disease and contagion -- is a reality for people across the planet." In an adaptation of his speech, distributed by  Globetrotter , Corbyn, however, said, there are fresh examples action, too -- by Indian farmers forcing Prime Minister Narendra Modi to withdraw three neo-liberal laws;  by workers, communities and activists against the top giant multinational Amazon's "greed and exploitation"; and by Latin American people's struggle to say "no more to the domination by imperialism, the destruction of their communities and the abuse of their environments." Stating that this is n

Swami Vivekananda's views on caste and sexuality were 'painfully' regressive

By Bhaskar Sur* Swami Vivekananda now belongs more to the modern Hindu mythology than reality. It makes a daunting job to discover the real human being who knew unemployment, humiliation of losing a teaching job for 'incompetence', longed in vain for the bliss of a happy conjugal life only to suffer the consequent frustration.

Why is NIOH-ICMR 'official' making false claims on silicosis?: Health rights NGO

Counterview Desk In a letter to the Director General, Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), New Delhi, Dr Jagdish Parikh, trustee, health rights NGO People’s Training and Research Centre (PTRC), Vadodara, and Jagdish Patel, director, PTRC, have said that the claim being made for the use of biomarker for detection of silicosis raises concern about scientific tenacity of the diagnosis of the deadly occupational disease. The letter also objects to the reported claim by a top health official that it is possible to detect silicosis at the sub-radiological stage. It asks, “What is this subradiological stage of silicosis? We have not heard any such scientific term being used. Again, the report is using a term which is not found in any scientific literature so far. Is this term acceptable by ICMR? Is ICMR thinking of any explanation?” Text : This is with reference to our letter dated November 28, 2021. In our communication we had raised our concern about the scientific tena

Welfare? Govt of India spends just 19% of manual scavengers' rehabilitation budget

By Bharat Dogra*  While the Dalit community has been always known for higher levels of poverty as well as social discrimination, even within the Dalits there is a sub-section known for even worse levels of poverty as well as social discrimination. This is the section which was traditionally involved in manual scavenging. The shocking injustice they have suffered from over the years has been widely recognized leading to a ban on manual scavenging. At the same time there is urgent need for the rehabilitation of those engaged in manual scavenging. Hence a self-employment scheme for the rehabilitation of those engaged in manual scavenging was drawn up. The allocations and the expenditure for this scheme for the last eight years are shown in the Table below: Union Budget for Self-Employment Scheme for Rehabilitation of  Manual Scavengers (in Rs crore) By Budget Estimate we mean the original allocation made when the budget is presented. It is clear from this table that the actual expenditure