The Ground Reality
Many of the projects that have created some kind of turn-around effect in Bihar, were mainly Central Government funded schemes. Take the case of Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana, Rajiv Gandhi Grameen Vidyutkaran Yojana, Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan, Indira Awaas Yojna. National Rural Health Mission or the Golden Quadrilateral and East-West Corridor.
Nitish’s own efforts may be just average or a bit further, but nowhere near extra-ordinary, as he with the help of the media has succeeded in all these years, to create a perception.
The reality at the ground level is visible and corruption and inefficiency are still palpable in the State.
Questions are now asked, if Chief Ministers like Naveen Patnaik and Mamata Banerjee can survive the NaMo wave, without bigger or higher development works, why Nitish got to limited within just 2 seats?
Is Nitish fast losing the Halo around him and striving to survive in the changing political scene of Bihar, with ‘Bade Bhai'(Big Brother) Lalu Yadav’s help!
Rattling In The Ranks
JD(U) and RJD, both have seen dissidence in the recent past. Several RJD members have deserted the party and joined Nitish bandwagon. Before Nitish resigned as the CM, there was massive protest held in Patna, against his style of leadership.
There is widespread dissent among the JD(U), legislators and the leaders over the Party’s coalition with Lalu Prasad Yadav’s Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD).
First, many Party leaders are feeling dejected due to rejection of tickets in the By Poll, due to this new alliance and other caste equations.
Rajiv Ranjan, a JD(U) MLA from Islampur, in former chief minister Nitish Kumar’s native Nalanda district, have even claimed that as many as 65 party MLAs, out of a total 116, were against the party joining hands with the Lalu led RJD.
He had sent a letter to the State Party Chief, Basistha Narayan Singh ,against the alliance with the RJD, and has clearly alleged that, the alliance has been imposed on them by a handful of leaders of the Party, who , according to him, have shunned the principles the Party had stood for, all these years, for the sake of power!
A Party leader has grunted that, they have fought all these years, under the leadership of Nitish Kumar to end the “jungle raj” in Bihar. Now how will they convince their voters about this queer alliance with RJD and Congress, the two parties that have lot of corruption charges, behind them!
“There is too much anger among JD(U) MLAs and ground level workers over joining hands with Lalu Yadav and his RJD, a Party against which we have fought tooth and nail, over all these years,” told a Party leader privately.
Rebel JD(U) MLAs Gyanendra Singh Gyanoo and Ravindra Rai have already castigated the alliance as “fraud” against their voters who had consequently and overwhelmingly supported the JD(U)in the 2010 Assembly elections.
Incidentally, Gyanoo and Rai, are the major Party leaders of the group of 18 dissident JD(U) MLAs, who have voted for the independent candidates in the last Rajya Sabha election against the officially declared candidates.
Two State Executive Committee members of JD(U), Raj Kumar Singh and Ram Vinod Singh have publicly announced their decision to quit the party and join the Rashtriya Lok Samata Party headed by Upendra Kushwaha.
Two other senior level JD(U) leaders, Manoj Lal Das Manu and Kamlesh Singh Batkhari, the former Party Secretary have said that, in the quest of power, Nitish Kumar has played with the sentiments of committed party workers and the voters in general.
Party insiders have definite reservation against the decision and expressed their anguish, by saying that, It was Nitish Kumar’s individual decision, taken without consulting other major party leaders.
This has been done during the time of ending its 17 year alliance with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), and the mode has been applied this time too, they said!
Fighting A Losing Battle?
If politics is a game of changing possibilities and priorities, Nitish Kumar is a master of the art!
Once a co-participant in Patna’s endemic student politics, Nitish Kumar had parted ways with Lalu Yadav in 1994, to form the Samata Party with George Fernandes. He merged his Party with the Sharad Yadav-led Janata Dal (United) in 2003, and became a reckoning force.
Nitish was gradually emerging as the main rival of Lalu Yadav in Bihar politics, in the absence of Congress and in the year 2003 itself, he started expelling Fernandes loyalists from the Party.
Brought a censure motion against Fernandes and ultimately, shown him the door.
Nitish truly perceived that the Congress and the Left Parties are staunchly behind the Lalu Yadav led RJD governments in Bihar. Politically and ideologically BJP was the lone opposition against this arrangement. So he had no qualms against joining hands with BJP, even after the 2002 Riots and run two consecutive Governments with them!
Bihar politicians remember that, Nitish was one of the first politicians in Bihar to organise a Kurmi rally in early 1992. His first election endeavour at Harnaut was a Kurmi stronghold.
He even entered in alliance with the ultra-Left Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist)-Liberation during the assembly elections in 1995.
After his comfortable win as the CM in the coalition, till 2010, his development agenda was intact. He tried to curve out a different way in Caste dominated Bihar politics.
But after his re-election as the CM, Nitish Kumar became confident and complacent enough. He tried to create his own cast equations for a longer stay at the mantle.
He evidently came out of his development focus and leaned towards work out the caste equation in his electoral benefit.
Having the Kurmi votes in his pocket, He then tried to establish himself as the saviour of the Mahadalits.
This was evidently a miscalculation. He undoubtedly got his mandate for his better work and development agenda, not just for the castes.
Before the Lok Sabha polls, when asked about political alliance with Nitish in the post NDA scenario, Lalu Yadav had this to say: “Nitish took the help of communal and fascist forces only in order to remove me from power, he was sitting in their lap till the other day, and how I can resume partnership with him? That is impossible.”
Now what happened within just a few months, when the two parties have lost badly… The two antagonists just blinked over the past and joined hands!
Lalu Yadav might be fighting for his survival, being forlorn and rejected…but what was the compulsion for Nitish Kumar to mandalise his politics!
After his end of relation with BJP, Nitish Kumar is struggling to keep his flock together. Many political stalwarts have left the party. Prominent leaders like Jai Narayan Nishad, N K Singh, Shivanand Tiwari, Purnmasi Ram, Sushil Kumar Singh, Vishmohan Kumar, Mangi Lal Mandal, and Vijay Singh have left the party.
Two of his Ministers Renu Kushwaha and Praveen Amanullah also left his company.
The Lok Sabha election was an eye opener for him.
How the RJD, JD(U), Congress alliance will succeed in stopping the BJP’s progress in Bihar, is yet to be seen. But in the eyes of the voters and party members, Nitish Kumar has definitely fallen from the moral high ground he claimed to hold, for over so many years!
If his experiment fails this time, it would definitely see the dissidents getting stronger to the extent of harming the RJD and the JD-U both, giving advantage to BJP for the 2015 Assembly election.
By: Deep Basu
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