India Against Corruption



Two sides of Nitish Kumar

Two sides of Nitish Kumar By PREM CHANDRAN Chief minister Nitish Kumar has his great qualities, the most visible of .....

: Oct 2012
: Adur, Kerala, India
: 66
: 99 | 0.03 Per Day
Thumbs up Two sides of Nitish Kumar

Two sides of Nitish Kumar


Chief minister Nitish Kumar has his great qualities, the most visible of them being his image as an uncorrupt, well-meaning politician. That makes him dear to us, more so as these here are days of base elements, coalition crooks, and criminals donning the political coat and looting the public exchequer. Nitish Kumar has done good things for Bihar, and earned praise from the people. However, today, he is known less for his stewardship of Bihar, and more for his anti-Narendra Modi postures. Why so, one might wonder.

Clearly, Nitish’s antagonism has more to it than personal ego problems or jealousy, though it certainly is reckoned to be an element. Yet, couching it in ideological terms, or linking it with Nitish’s secular credentials is to miss the woods for the trees. There are larger issues, not the least of them being Nitish’s own survival instincts, or in more plain terms, the vote bank politics of which he, like the Congress and others, is a practitioner and prisoner in his own turf. And, it is here that the ideologist in him gets exposed with his pants down.

This raises a larger issue: the depths to which the Indian politics is sinking. While the Nehru-family-led modern Congress party’s penchant for vote bank politics and its disregard of ideology -- in sharp contrast to the idealism of the old Indian National Congress, which Indira Gandhi broke and buried under the earth -- is well-known and well documented, what do we make of a scenario in which even leaders who swear by ideology are rubbishing the normal political process, and shamelessly indulging in vote bank politics for their survival?

Nitish is, at heart, a socialist of the Lohiaite mould, for whom ideology is important; and integral to that ideology is the tenets of socialism and secularism. But, strangely, socialism or secularism is not what he is riding piggyback on; rather, he is eminently a part and parcel of the National Democratic Alliance led by the BJP, a party that has at its core the Hindutva philosophy, which is the anti-thesis of secularism. If Nitish Kumar fails to see his own image in his mirror -- the glaring contradiction in his political pursuits, thereof -- that is his problem.

Nitish finds nothing wrong in having a co-habitation with the BJP for many years, the unity of the pre-Emergency days being a clever ploy for him to get on to the CM gaddi in Bihar with able backing from the Hindutva party. So, when he takes on his Gujarat counterpart, who is blamed for his failure to control the riots of 2002 which took a heavy toll, it would be hard to trust his words that secularism is what bothers him. Sure, the more Nitish abuses Modi, the more the Bihar CM’s chances of winning the minority votes in his state. The question is, should an ideologist, a socialist, stoop to such levels to stay afloat in power, or win the next polls?

Till a year ago, the Bihar chief minister was the darling of the media, which hailed him as the one who effected a turn-around in the fortunes of Bihar, a state where lawlessness is the norm, crime an obsession, and subversion of the systems a pastime for long years – all having been done with abundant political patronage and mafia links. One of the first things Nitish Kumar did as CM won him instant praise. By rounding up the large army of criminals who enjoyed patronage under the Laloo-Rabri dispensations, and putting them behind the bars, he had killed two birds with one stone: he restored a semblance of law and order in the state, and effectively immobilized the gangs that had been his rival’s political bulwark. When Laloo lost his muscles, the state breathed easy, and Nitish laughed out loud. For the CM, there was no looking back.

The down-to-earth socialist that Nitish Kumar is, power hasn’t gone into his head; not yet. And, he can be counted on to bring about lasting changes to the harried state. In normal course, why would Nitish want to upset the applecart, and break his ties with the BJP? Or, why would he take on himself the responsibility of stalling Narendra Modi from a possibility of becoming prime minister, when he is a part and parcel of the NDA, led by the BJP? After all, it is for the largest party in an alliance to decide who would head the government if a chance arose. That has been the coalition tradition. Why would a party like the JD(U), which to Nitish’s own admission, is a negligible entity when it comes to support at the national level, seek to put a spoke into the NDA wheel?

Or, why would Nitish begin a kind of muscle-flexing, when Modi, by no means, is no more a villain than the Congress party’s own leadership, which is accused of the same complicity -- in the mass killing of large numbers of Sikhs in capital Delhi in the aftermath of the Indira Gandhi assassination? Modi, at worst, failed to act as the head of the state government in Gujarat when riots broke out. And, so did the Congress party and its government in capital Delhi when Sikhs were targeted. Should we look at the plight of the Sikhs in a way smaller than the way we look at the plight of Muslims, for the reason Sikhs are smaller in numbers? Or, why is Nitish silent on the anti-Sikh riots? Because there are not many Sikhs in Bihar to help him win another polls? Or, why is he associating himself with a party that has divided India vertically by undertaking the Babri Masjid offensive, that had left the secularists bewildered no end? Fact is, instead, he shared space with them in the central government in later years, with no qualms whatsoever; a co-habitation that’s continuing even today at the state level. Facts are facts. A good socialist cannot ignore facts or be a hypocrite.

Now, coming to his own ambitions, does Nitish have an appeal among the larger mass of Indians, beyond Bihar? Little, other than the media hype he got till a while ago for the good things he did in Bihar; and very little when it come to the young India, which operates at a different level altogether. Sections of the youths might identify themselves with a ‘youthful” figure like Rahul Gandhi; or with the bombast or heroism of Narendra Modi, but they are unlikely to look upto Nitish for leadership. To the wider mass of Indians, Nitish’s socialist credentials can take India a step or two ahead, but not far, as it is proven to be a failed ideology worldwide; and he’s not the stuff for Delhi.

Simply put, Nitish would do well to mind his business: which is to carry on with the good work that he is doing for Bihar, and give the likes of Laloo Prasad Yadav a run for their money! We need good individuals like him to lead us from the front. --

Last edited by Premchandran; 04-23-2013 at 04:15 PM
Reply With Quote

India Against Corruption
India Against Corruption is a PUBLIC Forum, NOT associated with any organisation(s).
DISCLAIMER: Members of public post content on this website. We hold no responsibility for the same. However, abuse may be reported to us.

Search Engine Optimization by vBSEO 3.6.0