The meaning of Nitish’s resignation

Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has resigned on the specious plea that he could not compromise with corruption, that his conscience was pricking him and it was no longer possible for him to continue in office because Lalu Prasad Yadav’s son and Deputy Chief Minister Tejaswi Yadav had refused to resign even after being accused of corruption. The BJP, which was fully aware of what was in the making, responded promptly. The Prime Minister congratulated Nitish and the Bihar BJP chief Sushil Modi said his party was against a mid-term election. Now Nitish and BJP are coming together to form the new government.
Nitish Kumar’s plea for resignation is specious for two reasons. First, when he forged the mahagathbandhan of his own party JD)U), Lalu’s party RJD and the Congress with the express objective of preventing the BJP from coming to power, he had full knowledge of the fact that Lalu Prasad had been convicted in the fodder scam case and that he had been debarred from contesting elections. Secondly, after the election results were out, Nitish knew that Lalu’s party had won more seats than his own JD(U) and that he would have to depend on Lalu, the scam-tainted Lalu, to run the government for five years. He had to pay the price by making Tejaswi his deputy. Nitish’s conscience did not prick him either when he formed the mahagathbandhan with Lalu or when he decided to form the government with Lalu’s support.
Nitish had been gravitating toward the BJP for quite some time.  He supported the Prime Minister’s demonetization decision in November last year. Recently he supported BJP nominee Ram Nath Kovind for the presidency on another specious plea that Kovind was a former Bihar Governor and Nitish had excellent personal equation with him, as if personal relationship overrides questions of ideology and politics. Nitish may not give any explanation for his decision to any of his mahagathbandhan allies. But he does owe an explanation to the people of Bihar who voted in large numbers for the mahagathbandhan led by him to keep the BJP out of power (the sole objective of forming the mahagathbandhan). That was the main issue in the elections. He has no moral right to form a government with the help of the same BJP and bring the BJP to power through the back door without seeking a fresh mandate of the people. The wheel has turned full circle – from keeping BJP out to forming a government with BJP support. What next?

Friday, 28 July, 2017