Change in Bihar: Action as per script

Arun Srivastava

Now there is no more ambiguity. What a coincidence the closely guarded secret was out on Wednesday in the public domain with Nitish announcing his decision to break the mahagathbandhan and going to the BJP fold. It was not only the charges of corruption against the deputy chief minister Tejaswi that in fact made Nitish to crash the mahagathbandhan of secular forces, instead it was the nasty political scheming by the BJP that made him part the company of Lalu Yadav.     
For last couple of months conjectures were being made in the political circle and among the politically conscious people of Bihar about the reasons for Nitish Kumar planning to severe relation with his onetime elder brother Lalu Yadav and wreck the grand alliance. While Nitish blamed Lalu Yadav and his style of functioning as the real villain for forcing him to take the decision to quit the government and also mahagathbandhan, the people of Bihar by now had come to know of the actual reason for his parting of ways.
An astute politician, Nitish Kumar had fallen victim to the politics of bulling and his quitting the mahagathbandhan was the price he ultimately had to pay. Though whisperings were there in the political as well as in legal circles about Nitish being named as an important accused in a murder case which had taken place some years back in his home area, it got revealed just ahead of Nitish announcing his resignation. In the case section 302 of the IPC was slapped on him. However for some time the case had raising its ugly head. Scared of this situation, Nitish had no other way out but to depend on the generous help of the union government.
Yesterday’s development makes it explicit that Nitish must not have succeeded in his mission had he not painted Tejaswi and Lalu as the villains. The alacrity with which Nitish moved made it crystal clear that he was acting according to the script written of course by the BJP leadership. However the fact that he would smash the alliance on Wednesday was known. He was waiting for Ram Nath Kovind taking over the office of the President. There were apprehensions that his predecessor Pranab Mukherjee might not have allowed this to happen.       
The BJP was in fact ready with its action plan. It lost no time to swing into action and seize the moment. No sooner Nitish came out of Patna’s Raj Bhavan after submitting his resignation, the BJP Parliamentary Board met and took the decision to join the new government under Nitish. Senior BJP leader J P Nadda came out of the meeting and declared that the party was “not in favour of a midterm poll in Bihar”. It took only a few moments after Nitish’s resignation for Prime Minister Narendra Modi to come out in his support and tweet: “Congratulations to Nitish Kumarji for joining the fight against corruption. One twenty five crore people welcome and support the honesty… The need of the hour is for a joint fight against corruption, rising above the political differences for the bright future of the country, especially Bihar.”
True enough the RSS and BJP have hatched up the conspiracy long back. They were sure that with the mahagathbandhan in power in Bihar their going would be really tough during the 2019 Lok Sabha polls. Lalu will emerge as the focal point in the Hindi heartland. It will even have adverse bearing in Uttar Pradesh. Once it is finished, even a person like Mamata Banerjee would be weakened. They were working on the plot to wreck the mahagathbandhan.
It is not that Lalu is unaware of the designs of the Sangh and BJP. This is the reason that he has been pushing his son Tejaswi to the front and projecting him as the heir apparent. Nitish and BJP mounting their attack on Tejaswi ought to be seen in this perspective. For BJP crushed in Bihar barely 20 months ago despite being resurgent across the country, joining the government there with JD(U) is a massive psychological and sociological gain.
Lalu was absolutely right when he said “There had been a setting with the BJP. When someone asked him (Nitish) if he could go with BJP, he did not say no. It clearly suggests BJP setting. The PM’s congratulatory tweet followed to prove my point. I knew about this case for long but had kept quiet. How can he ask for Tejaswi’s resignation when he faces such a serious case as murder that entails life imprisonment and capital sentence?”
Once Nitish was considered as the only potential challenger of Nitish significantly does not mass support. Neither the non-Yadav OBCs and poor sections follow him nor do the dalits repose their trust in him. This is yet another reason that he is the darling of the RSS and BJP. They know that Nitish cannot be potential challenger to their hegemony. One thing is absolutely clear Nitish will have to do lot of explaining. Signs are already visible on the streets of Patna. People have refused to accept his volte-face in a lighter vein. They recall what Nitish had said after the grand alliance was formed. While announcing the list of candidates in Patna on September 24, 2015, Nitish had said: “RSS is like the Supreme Court for BJP. BJP talks about development, but does the politics of dividing… be it in the name of caste or religion.” (IPA)

Tuesday, 1 August, 2017