Paltu Chacha: To counter the political force known as the Rashtriya Janata Dal, led by Lalu Prasad Yadav, Nitish Kumar merged his Samata Party, which he founded with George Fernandes, with the Janata Dal (United). And a reconstituted Janata Dal (United) was formed, which was headed by Sharad Yadav as the head of the parliamentary board and Fernandes as the first party president.
The man who had merged his party is now a pariah and searching for an opportunity for relaunch, and then happened the 2005 assembly elections, JD(U) got 88 seats and Nitish Kumar aka Paltu Chacha took oath as the chief minister of the state. However, the years from 2005 to 2020 have exposed all the faces of Nitish Kumar, who might retire from politics very soon.
From Sushashan Babu to Paltu Chacha
Nitish Kumar served his term and went again for the 2010 assembly elections with his earned title of Sushasan Babu. Kumar was the man who had not only enhanced the law and order situation in the state but also ended Lalu Yadav’s jungle raj. With Nitish Kumar’s image, JD(U) won 115 seats out of 141 seats up for grabs. This was the highest mandate ever won by the Janata Dal (United) and Nitish Kumar was the hero of the masses.
However, the glossy dream ended very soon and the 2014 Lok Sabha elections spelled doom. The JD(U) got swept under the Modi wave and was reduced to just two seats in the Lok Sabha elections. Just before the elections, Kumar walked out of the NDA alliance, ending the 17 year old partnership, just to run back in three years. Kumar fought the 2015 assembly elections alongside RJD, to counter the influence of the party with which he had merged in 2003.
However in just three years he again jumped back to the BJP’s fold. He contested the next election with the Bharatiya Janata Party, and was reduced to the third number in the state, still got the CM chair and jumped ships and is now in government with RJD.
With almost no major development projects after his first term and jumping ships, Kumar has not only ended his political career, but also the JD(U).
Liquor Ban: The most popularised policy, yet a failure
On Saturday, Nitish Kumar aka Paltu Chacha claimed that the liquor ban has been working well in the state. He also promised Rs 1 lakh to people who want to abandon toddy-based livelihoods in favour of other legal activities.
No matter how his liquor ban may have been popularised, Nitish Kumar’s ban policy had no good impact in the state and rather converted into a bootlegging industry, with the Bihar Police, who were entrusted with the responsibility of guarding the ban, becoming the industrialists.
Alcohol is being sold and consumed in the state; however, the revenue from it is not reaching the government. Police officers are being arrested with alcohol every two weeks.
Given the fact, almost everyone has access to smuggled liquor–which is more expensive and, therefore, places a bigger financial burden on the households. Due to laggard implementation of the ban, the women who supported Nitish Kumar back in 2016 are now against him.
However, Kumar, still unaware of it, said in a recent address, “Women have shared the benefits of prohibition with me. It has improved the household environment, improved the expenditure on food and the education of children.”
No industrialization, no opportunities
There have been many rallies and speeches where Kumar has cried foul regarding opportunities in the state. He claimed that because of being a landlocked state, there are no opportunities in Bihar. However, the reality is entirely different.
Over the years, the JD-U government has paid no attention to the closed industries. Kumar has claimed that the state is growing by more than 10% every year; however, the truth is that his government over the years has failed to bring in investment and revamp sick industries.
Kumar cries foul that “big industries don’t come to Bihar.” However, observers opine that it’s the government’s lack of intent and interest. For the ones who are unaware, Bihar was once a leading producer of many things, including sugar. Bihar at one time produced 30% of the country’s sugar, which has now been reduced to 2%, and the sugar mills have gone from 28 to 10 since independence.
Agriculture is frequently impacted by floods, which Kumar has failed to control, leaving the agrarian community at the mercy of nature.
The end of Paltu Chacha is near
There has been no development in the state of Bihar, and that is an open fact. The distance from development and his focus on his own, never-ending political ambitions will spell doom for not only Nitish Kumar but the entire Janata Dal. Kumar survived the political wave with the support of women voters in the absence of caste-based support.
Now, women voters in Bihar look at him as a pariah. With wrong policies, self-ambitions , and no growth, Kumar has marked his end. With the end of Kumar’s political career, the Janata Dal, whose revival and unification Kumar was responsible for, will also become obsolete.
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