The uneasy partnership in Bihar

With the CBI starting fresh corruption cases against Lalu Prasad and members of his family including his son and Bihar deputy chief minister Tejashwi Yadav, the future of the Nitish Government has become more uncertain. After the CBI registers an FIR it would be difficult for Tejashwi to continue in the Cabinet and equally difficult for Nitish Kumar to retain him in case he does not resign. Lalu has cried vendetta and he may well be true because there is no apparent reason why the CBI suddenly started inquiring into a corruption case that allegedly took place during Lalu’s tenure as Railway Minister. There may be more than a grain of truth in Lalu’s allegation that the CBI cases have been started to upset his programme of holding a mega kisan rally at Patna on August 27. But a corruption charge is a corruption charge and Lalu and his family will have to wait till the trial is over and the judgment delivered, perhaps after many years.
Nitish has, till now, maintained a stoic silence on the CBI cases but sooner or later he will have to take a decision whether to continue his alliance with Lalu and his RJD. Should he decide to jettison Lalu, he will have to depend on BJP support to be in power. BJP will be glad to extend him support for the present. It will constantly try to weaken his influence and erode his party’s strength so that by the time the next assembly elections come, Nitish will have either to sail with BJP or walk alone and be defeated. In either case the BJP wins. There may be more immediate trouble for Nitish if his close associate Sharad Yadav can be weaned away from him.
The bane of the Opposition is that their pursuit of power is for power’s sake, sans any ideology or programme or the vision to emerge as a national alternative. There is no towering personality among the Opposition leaders who enjoys the people’s trust and confidence; Rahul Gandhi has been proved to be a damp squib who has failed to inspire his own party. Most party leaders have skeletons in their cupboards which the BJP is trying to bring out in the open. Unless the Opposition parties can agree on a common programme based on a mutually shared ideology, the Sangh Parivar’s dominance cannot be challenged. If that does not happen, people will have to wait till history throws up a new crop of leaders with a clear vision to lead this nation.

Wednesday, 12 July, 2017