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Mainstream, VOL LV No 32 New Delhi July 29, 2017

Rank Opportunism Scales New Heights

Saturday 29 July 2017, by SC


Whatever has happened since last evening in Patna—that is, after the Bihar CM tendered his resignation as the head of the JD(U)-RJD-Congress mahagathbandhan government there following a meeting of the JD(U) MLAs—has stunned the secular democratic forces of the nation. And this also includes progressive secular-democrats in the JD(U). One of them, Ali Anwar, did not mince words to say that the development was indeed a national catastrophe because only the BJP would benefit from it and that too the BJP, led by Narendra Modi and Amit Shah, thereby adding more strength and vigour to the extremist groups within the party and the Parivar leading to increasing violence by the Hindu communalists on the rampage of late.

The script of Nitish Kumar’s political rhetoric has undergone a sea-change overnight. He is now speaking of Bihar’s development as his sole agenda based on the “uncompromising fight” against corruption. Gone are his eloquent diatribes against the BJP leaders headed by Narendra Modi on the issue of communalism they have been spearheading since 2014 when they came to power at the Centre.

How can this be interpreted?

Since he joined hands with the BJP to meet the State Governor for forming a new government last night, it was a clear case of rank political opportunism. Wasn’t it Nitish who had said in 2015: “I would rather turn into dust than join hands with the BJP”? As a matter of fact, such opportunism is indeed rare and almost unprecedented even in our much-tainted polity. At least this was not expected of Nitish who has always sought to protect his clean image before the public at large. What use is such a clean image when he has once again returned to the BJP now led by elements whose hands are still soiled by the blood of those members of the minority community who had perished in the communal carnage in Gujarat fifteen years ago, that is, in February-March 2002.

Even if one concedes that corruption was a major issue in Bihar and Nitish was upset over the charges against Deputy CM Tejaswi Yadav, there was no justification for the CM to suddenly do a somersault to forge unity with the BJP thus forsaking his well-known anti-communal stand. However, at the same time, it must also be pointed out that the RJD too should not have given a handle to the BJP and Tejaswi should have himself voluntarily stepped down from the government in view of the charges against him.

Nevertheless, it needs to be underlined that Nitish revived his alliance with the BJP even while the mahagathbandhan was in place. And he kept his dialogue with the Modi-Shah-led BJP (to change the electoral dynamics and political configuration in Bihar) close to his chest without even consulting his mahagathbandhan allies. But he had the gumption of charging those allies, notably Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, with not having any positive agenda to fight the BJP which had, he felt, come out with its own blue- print of development.

What Nitish has done is that in order to fight large scale financial corruption he has resorted to nothing but massive political corruption.

For him the struggle against majoritarian fascism now holds no meaning whatsoever. That is why he had no hesitation to overturn the 2015 mandate of the people of Bihar—a mandate against divisive politics, communalism and sectarian approach of the BJP and its allies. (If he was so much concerned about preserving his clean image he should have gone to the people for seeking a fresh mandate from them instead of going for a new government with the BJP.) Now all secular-democrats would unambiguously identify him with such a narrow outlook that militates against the idea of India comprehensively spelt out in our Constitution.

Nitish may be blind to the Vyapam scam in Madhya Pradesh, the BJP leaders’ association with Lalit Modi and the mining scam in Karnataka under Yeddyurappa. Here one may also add the manner in which Vijay Mallya fled the country with full knowledge of the powers that be. However, the vigilant public have not forgotten these shining examples of the BJP’s corruption.

All this only helps to reinforce Laloo Yadav’s allegation: “Tejaswi to ek bahana tha, asli ichha BJP ki gode mein baithna tha. (the issue of Tejaswi’s corruption was only a pretext, the real intention was to sit on the BJP’s lap).”

The net gainers in this nefarious game are undoubtedly the BJP-RSS and those actually running the Centre: Narendra Modi and Amit Shah.

A frightening and dangerous scenario for the country as a whole.

July 27 S.C.   

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