Sushil Kumar Modi, the finance minister of Bihar and senior BJP leader from the state, is on the back foot on CAA, and in an interview with The Indian Express, he said, ‘Did not anticipate such protests… maybe we were not able to convince people.’
The statement from Sushil Kumar comes just a few days after BJP’s alliance partner in Bihar- JD (U) – has taken a clear anti-CAA stand, and Nitish Kumar criticized the law as ‘divisive’. Sushil Kumar Modi’s weak standing on CAA despite the fact that Amit Shah has clearly said that ‘there is no going back on CAA’ shows that he is more loyal to Nitish Kumar than BJP.
Sushil Kumar is BJP’s face in the alliance government and Deputy Chief Minister of Bihar, and therefore, his stand on any socio-political issue becomes the official stance of BJP. So, Sushil Kumar has put BJP on the back foot on CAA in Bihar.
Sushil Kumar has always presented himself as the trusted lieutenants of Nitish Kumar and never tried to build BJP independently in the state. A lazy party worker, Sushil Kumar knows well that they could easily win in the state in alliance with BJP and his position as the tallest leader will be secure. Given the fact Sushil Kumar is not popular among the voters if an independent leader rises as a popular leader; it will be a threat to Sushil Modi’s position as the tallest leader of BJP in the state.
Therefore, Sushil Kumar wants to maintain the status quo in the state, as it secures the position of Nitish Kumar as well as of him. Sushil Kumar has showered praise to Nitish even when other state BJP leaders have openly spoken against him.
Recently, senior BJP leader and former Union Minister, Sanjay Paswan made a bold remark by suggesting that Nitish Kumar ‘should now move to the Centre’ and leave Bihar to ‘BJP and the second-rung JDU leadership’. Paswan who is currently a member of the Bihar Legislative Council said, “Nitish Kumar has now been the Chief Minister of Bihar for over 13 years and there should be a change now even if it is a change for the sake of change. Nitish Kumar has done very well as Chief Minister but should now move to Centre and leave Bihar to BJP and second-rung JDU leadership.”
Sushil Kumar reacted to this, and said, “Nitish Kumar is the Captain of NDA in Bihar & will remain its Captain in next assembly elections in 2020 also. When Captain is hitting 4 & 6 & defeating rivals by inning where is the Q of any change.”
Though Nityanand Rai is the President of BJP’s Bihar unit, the fact that Sushil Modi is probably the senior-most face of the BJP in the state and also the Deputy Chief Minister of the state, virtually makes him the representative of BJP’s opinion in the NDA government in the state. However, his statement showering praise upon the Bihar CM does not correctly reflect the sentiments of the BJP workers and supporters.
If BJP wishes to win the state, it must sack Sushil Kumar, and sack him now. The 2020 Bihar assembly election is a few months away, and BJP’s top leadership in the state is making such a discouraging statement. Not only that, Sushil Kumar is hell-bent to make sure that BJP plays the second rung in the state his position as a top leader and deputy chief minister of the state remains secure.
Sushil Kumar has done immense damage to BJP’s cause in the state. He is the top leader of BJP in the state since the last one and a half-decade and due to him, the second rung of BJP has not emerged so far in the state.
Under the duo’s leadership, the state of BJP has not registered any significant improvement in the socio-economic condition of the state. Bihar is among the states with the highest percentage of population below the poverty line. In 2013, 33.74 per cent of the state population was living below the poverty line compared to 21.92 of all India average.
This means that almost one-third of Biharis are still living below the poverty line compared to one-fifth of the Indian average. Majority of the population in the state are still employed in Agriculture. Industries and services companies don’t prefer the state due to ‘law and order’ problems and the lacklustre attitude of state government.
If BJP wants to win the state, it needs to get rid of not only Nitish Kumar’s JD (U), but Sushil Kumar too. The 68-year-old leaders have no new politics to offer and both want to maintain the status quo in the state.