So, after a brief period of separation the couple “Sushasan Babu – Sushil Modi’ started living-in together again. Sadly Lalu has become a ‘bechara’ as there is no ‘chara’ left for him as he already consumed all of Bihar’s chara. Well, the realignment of Bihari politics was expected, at least ever since Nitish supported Demonetisation that was demonised by the rest of Opposition.
Responding to latest developments in Bihar, Rahul Gandhi squarely blamed Nitish Kumar by saying ‘Satta ke liye kuch bhi kar dete hain’. Whether one agrees with Rahul or not, but the statement was simply a fact. And, this was what even Rahul and Lalu did when they joined hands with Nitish Kumar, who was an ally of BJP for seventeen years. Even then, Nitish Kumar did commit the same mistake by ditching BJP and allying with his bete noire – Lalu Prasad Yadav and Congress, the epitome of Organized Corruption.
So, what it proves? Nitish Kumar is an opportunist, who joins hands with anyone so he can retain power in Bihar. When he left NDA too Nitish Kumar spoke of principles. Even now, as he left the so called Mahagathbandhan, he repeated the same lines. So, what are his principles? Does he have any?
It is a fact that the alliance between Nitish and Lalu/Congress was as mismatch as the BJP-PDP alliance in Jammu and Kashmir, Cong-CPM alliance in West Bengal. The relation between Nitish and BJP was also too strong and too long to break on trivial issues. JD(U) had 118 MLAs and BJP has 91 MLAs in the last assembly. Post-split of this alliance in the current assembly, even the single largest party (RJD) has only 80 MLAs. This demonstrates the faith that people of Bihar reposed in the BJP-JD(U) alliance, which Nitish Kumar broke. Finally, he ended up playing a second fiddle to Lalu & Sons.
Why Nitish Kumar chose to break his alliances earlier and now? It is an interesting study in itself.
It is in the public knowledge that Atal Bihari Vajpayee trusted George Fernandes, defence minister in NDA government. Even a program as confidential as Pokhran II was executed by George Fernandes, while no other politician knew of it. Even Advani got to know about it later like everyone else. The performance of Advani and Fernandes during Vajpayee government exposed Advani’s image to a large extent. While the defence ministry under Fernandes moved from the victory of Kargil to laying foundations to cold-start doctrine, ministry of internal affairs aka Home ministry could not match its performance to people’s expectations. To have a sort of political revenge, Advani started grooming the second line in Samata party in the form of Nitish Kumar, whom he mentored for long. How Nitish Kumar treated George Fernandes later was also heavily criticised.
When RSS refused to back Advani, who “successfully lost” two elections ¬under his commandership and supported to prop up a new but controversial face of Narendra Modi, there were serious power struggles in BJP. Had it been Congress, Advani would have come out of BJP and formed a BJP-Advani faction. But, he couldn’t betray his alma-matter RSS and so remained an obedient lieutenant. However, in the course of internal fight, he let loose his protégé Nitish Kumar on Narendra Modi. On his way to become Prime Ministerial candidate, Narendra Modi had to face many an internal opponents. If Bal Thackeray publicly wanted Sushma Swaraj to be BJP’s PM candidate. Another old friend Badal wanted Advani. So did Nitish Kumar.
However, both Shiv Sena and SAD were politically mature enough and had no particular loyalty towards any BJP candidate. But, overwhelmed by his loyalty to Advani and his knack of overestimating himself and underestimating Modi, Nitish Kumar pulled the threads of alliance till it got severed. Only when Modi became PM, Nitish Kumar did realise his mistake but, by then it was too late. Advani was fading into oblivion. This forced Nitish to suppress his own self-respect and join hands with his bete noir Lalu Prasad Yadav. A politically advantageous suggestion by Prashant Kishor then extended the alliance into the now broken Mahagathbandhan.
The question BJP raised during assembly elections was only one- that how can Sushan Babu join hands with Lalu, the King of Jungle Raj? To the dismay of BJP, the Grand Alliance rode to power in Bihar. And so started the problems for Nitish Kumar. Already Nitish Kumar was missing the able support he received from Sushil Modi and other BJP ministers who held key portfolios during the transition of Bihar from Jungle Raj to a decent state. Though Nitish could transform his votes of ‘development plank’ to RJD and Congress, vote transfer from Congress and RJD vote banks to JD(U) did not happen. So, despite being projected as CM, Nitish’s party won less number of seats than RJD and the glee in the face of Lalu told everything. Then the degeneration of Bihar started. Lalu’s uneducated sons were made part of the cabinet and the better one of them as Deputy to Nitish Kumar.
Ever since he swore in as CM in 2015, a sword was hanging on the neck of Nitish Kumar. Unlike BJP, Lalu had no vision beyond Bihar. All his interests lied in consolidating the win and establish his Sons as future leaders of Bihar. And, of course – to make some more money. Within two weeks after the government was formed in 2015, there were talks of asking Nitish to quit as CM in 2017 and make Tejashwi Prasad Yadav the chief minister. In one year, Nitish Kumar realised the soup he was in. The sand was moving quickly under his feet forcing him to think smart and act faster.
That was the point when Nitish Kumar decided, that’s it. I am going back to NDA. So happened his support to demonetisation at the end of 2016. The maverick Amit Shah sensed the feelers and took it further.
While Lalu and his family were slowly dipping into the sludge of corruption, Nitish too was going down albeit slowly. BJP winning UP confirmed Nitish that his dreams of becoming PM would remain just so – dreams. Smarting from his past mistakes, to safeguard his image of ‘Sushasan Babu’, it was a desperate attempt by Nitish Kumar to ditch RJD and join hands with BJP.
Lalu & Sons may cry hoarse about the political opportunism of Nitish. But, knowing the history of Congress and RJD, people are simply not ready to listen lectures on ‘propriety and morality from these family run parties.
Smarting from earlier encounters with the judiciary, BJP prepared well and announced trust vote on 28th July during a special session of the assembly which took wind out of the attempts by Lalu going to Supreme Court. In all legal prudence, Supreme Court could never stay a ‘trust vote’ in the assembly as it was the holy avenue to prove majority in a democracy. Nitish Kumar was basing his trust in his MLAs on the abrupt nature and swiftness of events. More time given to the MLAs would have meant RJD getting time to create a wedge by talking on communal lines.
Now that Nitish Kumar has won the trust vote, we hope he would inculcate long term thinking and remain with BJP so his state is prevented from turning into Jungle Raj again.