Although anticipated, the treacherous moves by Janata Dal (U) leader Nitish Kumar for joining hands with the BJP and share the power by breaking off the secular grand alliance in Bihar is certain to dishearten those upright and just believing in democracy.
As soon as Nitish was out of the Lalu Prasad Yadav-led RJD-Congress alliance, the BJP was quick to propel him to the post of Bihar Chief Minister. Given that it wouldn’t be difficult to overcome the hurdle of an absolute majority if Janata Dal (U) and BJP join their hands together in the 243-member assembly, the Chief Ministerial post of Nitish is for the time being, secure. As far as the BJP is concerned, the fact that brings joy is that the opportunity has come to pay back for the severe political jolt back in 2015.
It’s the political sabotage conspired by the BJP under the guise of corruption allegations raised against Tejashwi Yadav, son of Lalu Prasad Yadav and Bihar’s Deputy Chief Minister. It’s while the moves to strengthen a secular grand alliance of 18 coalition parties at the national level were progressing, in order to curb the growth of Hindutwa, that Nitish abruptly switched sides. The fact that he was once suggested as the Prime Ministerial candidate of the Opposition might seem ridiculous. At the same time, as soon as the BJP leadership announced the name of Bihar Governor Ram Nath kovind, it was Nitish Kumar, the Railway Minister during the tenure of Vajpayee government, who rushed for the support of the NDA candidate.
Nitish Kumar switched sides saying that his conscience didn’t allow him to continue when Yadav, his deputy CM, was facing corruption charges. Although several corruption allegations have been raised against Lalu and his wife Rabri Devi including the controversial fodder scam, it isn’t much difficult to comprehend that the tactical moves of the Centre and Nitish against Tejashwi Yadav is totally a part of a political conspiracy. The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) is currently probing the benami transactions that took place eight years ago when Lalu Prasad was a Union Minister. Tejashwi’s claim of being a minor when the alleged scam took place couldn’t be totally brushed aside. It would also be interesting to investigate since when did Nitish start to feel so much aversion towards corruption. Lalu Prasad was disqualified from contesting in the election after being punished in the fodder scam case. It’s Nitish who has to answer the question as to why conscience of righteousness against corruption hadn’t cropped up at the time of forming political friendship with Prasad. Nitish had shown no hesitation to join hands with Lok Dal (INLD) leader Om Prakash Chautala who is now in jail after being convicted in corruption case. Nitish does not realize that he is mocking himself when he cites corruption as the reason to leave the RJD at a time when Lalu and his family are hounded by the Central government.
It’s the Hindutwa forces who win although it may seem that Nitish has emerged victorious. Graft is equally contemptible as financial corruption. This political somersault by Nitish Kumar, who vowed two years ago that Prime Minister Modi wouldn’t be allowed to step into Bihar, is actually akin to political corruption. It’s the mandate given to the RJD-Janata Dal (U)-Congress alliance that has been sabotaged midway. If he has political decency left in him, he should go back to the voters. The JD (U) leader has committed a heinous mistake by bringing a party which was rejected by the people 23 months ago in the elections, into power. Nitish, who claims of political inheritance of figures like Jaiprakash Narayan, Lohia and Karpoori Thakur, should think what place he would be given in history by the coming generation.
Nitish’s betrayal would indisputably undermine the political alliances at the national level other than the BJP. With Bihar as well coming under the grip of Hindutwa politics after Uttar Pradesh, it’s the concept of the secular grand alliance itself that is being destabilized. When Samajwadi Party Chief Mulayam Singh and his son failed to take a firm political stand, Lalu Prasad Yadav stood his firm ground on secularism. It was only because of that fact that he was able to fiercely resist the growth of BJP by joining hands with his political enemy Nitish and the Congress. It’s those experiments that are now shattered before the ploys of Modi-Amit Shah duo. The question that remains is whether the Opposition parties would still be able to weave effective tactics without losing strength and determination realizing that Nitish would one day be thrown away by Modi’s party and supporters as soon as they achieve their goals.