Long back in our childhood, we had read a story where two cats are fighting for a piece of bread and unable to reach an amicable understanding, they decide to consult a monkey. The monkey judge divides the bread in two unequal pieces, puts them on a balance and then keeps eating from one side or another on the pretext of balancing them. At the end, nothing remains. In the fight of two cats, the monkey gets the benefit.
Nitish Kumar, the long time poster boy of Bihar must have read this story when he was a child. I wonder what made him forget this basic teaching from Panchtantra.
In 2005, Nitish Kumar brought a new breath of life into Bihar which had been on ventilator in the 15 years of Lalu’s Jungle-raj. As a Bihari, I vividly remember the rot of the lawless Bihar, how Lalu and company looted the state with glee. Those were the days when goons would roam in the streets and the good people would lock themselves up in their homes after sunset. However things changed dramatically and for the better, Bihar started coming in news for all the good reasons like roads, development and relative peace. The public rewarded Nitish with all it could and the government came back with a landslide victory.
However, Nitish Kumar 2.0 has not been the same as his earlier tenure. Growth started slackening, the power situation did not improve and the crime graph started rising again, though still not as rampant as before. The uncanny ability of the induction of the trash from RJD started looking like the beginning of the end. Be it Anant Singh, Taslimuddin or Shivanand Tiwari; Nitish welcomed them with open hands, to a point where there seemed to be no apparent difference between JDU and RJD.
The relation between BJP and JDU, started getting sour as Narendra Modi started emerging as a powerful leader in the national politics. Whenever possible, Nitish tried to oppose Modi in his bid to look secular (read pro-Muslim). The curtains fell on the whole drama this week when BJP and JDU parted ways.
It is difficult to fathom what has been going on in Nitish’s mind. Is he truly secular (by his own definitions) or coming back to his minority appeasing roots of the 1990s. As he tries to break the ‘M’ from the ‘MY’ votebank which had remained more or less loyal to Lalu so far, Nitish has played his biggest gamble ever. Only time will tell how it turns out to be.
Nitish Kumar has conveniently forgotten that the mandate given to him in the last two elections was not based on communalism or secularism but on development and rule of law. Today Bihar has come a full circle since 2005, where development takes a backseat and votebank politics if religion and caste become prominent. Armed gangs of JDU and BJP supporters are roaming on the streets and blood has flown in the streets of Patna once again. Jungleraj seems to be back by another name, and Bihar is the ultimate casualty of this political civil war.
Meanwhile, a certain father of nine is having the last laugh. This is the best father’s day gift to him ever…