After One and a Half Years, Nitish Kumar is finally Sorry

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Nitish Kumar
Image Courtesy: India Today

We all make horrible choices at one point or the other in life. It’s only human! What separates the extraordinary from the crowd is that he corrects those mistakes earlier than others.

A year and a half ago, Nitish Kumar made a horrendous choice when he decided to breakaway from a 17-year-old alliance – an alliance that was built on mutual trust and common goals. At the core of ideologies BJP and JD(U) were slightly different but they shared a common vision – to uplift Bihar and put the state on the right track of development. The land had been left to rot after more than a decade of corruption and illegal practices done by, and under the nose of, Lalu Yadav and family – I have conveniently ignored using RJD government here and you are free to judge me if you have judged the CBI and the central government for initiating a tirade against the family.

It’s naive to beat around the bush when trying to set the tone of a write-up. Guilty, yes! Apologetic, no! Never wanted to skirt around but such is the heap of evils created by RJD in Bihar that you cannot just think or write anything without meandering away.

And because we are avoiding what is even slightly unrelated to what the motive of the piece is, I won’t even mention how the media has stood behind Lalu Yadav and family as if that entire family has been given a clean chit by the Ganga herself. Bihar, like most India, reveres Ganga to an extent that the river is often used to purify. But I am sure even that won’t suffice to help the Yadav family wash off the sins.

Nitish knows this. He always knew. But for his ego he compromised the welfare of a state that was finally regaining the lost ground and earning accolades and, of course, investments. 

This is what is known to the populace. There’s a gradual shift in the politics of Bihar and it is out in open but what many might have missed out is how this is not an overnight change but a profound overhauling that has been taking place for a while now.

Three continuous years of finding one single narrative effective enough to corner the NDA government at the centre has fallen flat on its face. Kanhaiya Kumar came and left, so did the ‘award wapasi’ gang… I don’t find it necessary to jog the memory further. The BJP, under the firm leadership, stood its ground and managed to keep corruption cases at bay. It’s not that easy to keep a clean slate in a democracy as large as ours. From top to bottom, there are layers… and the way the media digs up stories against this government, we would have known by now had a loophole been left. Thankfully none so far.

Nitish knows this as well. His image of ‘vikas purush’ has been overshadowed by Modi and his party. He tried the tried and tested formula of secularism as well. But now after one and a half years of a rule that has been embarrassing to say the least, he has realized it was a bad move to go with a party that, at best, was just an off-shoot of a band of corrupt politicians. And so it happened! The other day Nitish Kumar almost asked for the resignation of the DY CM Tejashwi Yadav, who is under the scanner for corruption charges, while maintaining that Junior Yadav must furnish facts to prove the case wrong.

Apparently, there is a deadline hanging over the head of the alliance. BJP has played its card. They never had issues with Nitish, they were always against the RJD and they still are.

It was ‘Vikas Babu’ who was embarrassed to be associated to support a man who, in his eyes, was a communal man from Gujarat. But despite that the BJP is willing to support Nitish from outside for the greater good of all. As I write this, I remember how once Nitish Kumar had returned the flood relief fund provided by Gujarat. The reasons given did not sound political but was an indication of things to follow.

Things that the hunger for power makes us do!

Anyway, there is no time to digress.

Nitish is not the face of development anymore. The media might refuse to acknowledge it – for their visceral hatred for Modi – but going with the RJD did him more harm than good, if at all. He might have managed to throw a straw to a drowning political career of Lalu by opting to ally with him but the move backfired.

However, a bit late but good judgement seems to be prevailing in the JD(U) camp. Nitish’s latest comments must be seen in this particular light. He is endearing himself to the BJP; has decided to support the candidature of Ramnath Kovind for the post of the President, publicly accepted how he was not in the race for the PM in 2019 – leaving dreams of a Mahagathbandan at the national level, to counter the BJP, crash past the rock bottom!

It just shows that the current phase in Bihar politics might be the last straw for Nitish’s party for he does not seem to be in a mood to relent. After all, he has an image to maintain or to put it bluntly – resurrect. The upper caste vote had already consolidated against him and he has not done enough to keep those, who voted him to power, intact. It’s better to jump off a sinking ship, especially when you are the captain with a noble intention and half the deck has two parties full of evils.

Remember, there is an adjacent ship, sailing past political rivals, and happily waiting to save your political career from sinking. The realization has struck. But for how long before the ego subsides and Nitish Kumar comes out in open to accept that the mood in Bihar is not different from the country. A state so politically volatile deserves better than the treatment it was subjected to for decades by a family ensuring that its farm houses grew bigger, 1000 kilometres away from where they ran amok, brooding their politics of hate.