Intro: Due to Nitish Kumar’s politics of personal ambition and convenience the main plank of politics of the State is back to casteism and corruption.
While moving in the villages like Keshariya of East Champaran District, one can hear a whisper on current political crisis of Bihar. General feeling is, Bihar was moving away from caste and communal equations but due to personal ambition of Nitish Kumar it is back to caste and criminal nexus. Common people credited Narendra Modi for the development that was happening in Bihar.
But due to Nitish Kumar politics it has again stopped. Modi’s politics of development in Gujarat forced other Chief Ministers’ including Nitish Kumar to change the focus from caste equations to infrastructural development. When Modi moved to national politics, his persona has laid more impact on politics in Bihar than any other part of India. After breaking the alliance with BJP on the ground of ‘secularism’, JD (U) faced rumblings at the hands of BJP in parliamentary elections.
Nitish resigned from CM post and installed Jitan Ram Manjhi from a Mahadalit caste as the puppet CM. Soon he realised that Manjhi cannot be remote controlled. But he transformed politics of Bihar to the BJP vs all. After Delhi elections ambitious Nitish wanted to come back as the CM which Manjhi, his prodigy resisted. The real questions of why did Nitish resigned after Lok Sabha elections and if he resigned while taking the moral responsibility of the defeat, then, why he chose to come back as the CM, are still unanswered. His alliance with Lalu Prasad Yadav, with whom he fought tooth and nail till recently, on the grounds of corruption and criminalisation, has become Nitish’s friend. He might have proved his majority on the floor of Bihar Assembly but he has lost his place in the hearts of people.
Om Prakash Chaudhary, a BJP worker in Motihari Town admits that Nitish does not know politics, and he knows only personal ambition.
When JD(U) was routed in the Lok Sabha polls, its tally crashed from 20 in 2009 to 2 in 2014, 'Sushasan Babu' as he was called, took moral responsibility and stepped down. If he had retained the post, he would have certainly faced wrath of his own MLAs.
So, it was not moral responsibility but a strategy to avoid immediate political rebellion. At that he again played caste card based on which he opted Jitan Ram Manjhi belonging to Mushahar caste of Mahadalit. But he did not know that he was not Sonia Gandhi to operate successfully the political remote which needs dynastic legacy.
RJD in Bihar maintained its power only through the coalition of Yadavs and Muslims, popularly called ‘MY Equation’. Similarly, Nitish Kumar tries to make Kurmi, Muslim and Mahadalit coalition to remain in power.
For taking Muslim supports, he attacked Narendra Modi and now, he eyes on support of Yadavs for which he is making the alliance or even thinking of merger with Lalu Yadav. All the talks of Mahagathbandhan is nothing but a caste coalition to defeat BJP, as BJP has gained substantial ground in Bihar to win the upcoming Assembly Elections in Bihar.
In the recent political drama, BJP has been alleged to choreograph Jitan Ram Manjhi becoming rebellion but again it is the personal ambition of Nitish Kumar, which was at stake as Manjhi started asserting himself. But Jitan Ram Manjhi’s resignation and coronation of Kumar shows not only politics of power but reincarnation of caste politics in Bihar in alliance with corrupt politics of Lalu Prasad. When Nitish Kumar apologised to the people of Bihar for his decision to abdicate the post of CM, he was not only imitating Kejriwal but was trying to retain his lost bastions related to his own social engineering. He timed it with the results of Delhi elections but his conviction is filled with only caste equations.
However, issues related to JD (U) equations with Mahagatbandhan, comprising RJD, Congress and CPI are still in doldrums. The Janata Pariwar experiment is still full of uncertainty. More importantly Nitish who asked for votes on ‘Sushasan’ will have to explain alliance with leaders of ‘jungle raj’ to his core constitutency.
Naveen Kumar (The writer is a senior political analyst & VP of Viplav Communications Pvt Ltd)