On the ashes of the Mahagathbandhan, a son rise

Unlike some commentators who would want to believe that Opposition unity has been severely jolted, we are of the view that Nitish Kumar’s departure is good riddance. Moreover, you cannot cement a greater association with a snake in your bosom.

Written by Manoj Kumar Jha | Updated: August 2, 2017 11:25 am
nitish kumar, nitish kumar press conference, bihar, bihar chief minister, grand alliance, mahagathbandhan, rjd, tejashwi yadav, lalu yaDAV, corruption Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar.

‘False face must hide what the false heart doth know’ is the last line of the very first act in Macbeth. I wish to begin from here in order to reveal the background of events which culminated in the shameless robbery last week of the Bihar mandate of 2015.

As things appear today, you do not require to know the intricacies of rocket science to know that it was never about the resignation of Tejashwi Yadav, former deputy chief minister in Nitish Kumar’s former cabinet. Nitish himself declared at the beginning that he never sought his resignation in view of a FIR on him in a virtually imagined case of quid pro quo. When the former deputy CM met the Mahagathbandhan’s former CM last week, the latter was very categorical that he should not resign just because a section of the media and the BJP so desired it.

I do not wish to go into the detail of what subsequently happened under cover of the high moral ground. Political observers have easily sensed that Nitish was simply enacting a script written at the BJP headquarters on 11, Ashok Road, New Delhi. Many journalists were not able to make out whether his resignation came first or the congratulatory tweet from the Prime Minister for his resignation. Congress sources also recalled how he suddenly extended support to the presidential candidate of the NDA without bothering to inform alliance partners who had chosen him chief minister.

Right from the time of demonetisation when he openly supported the BJP or maintained a studied silence, we in the RJD had an inkling that things were not so fine with Nitish Kumar’s politics, but we upheld the decorum of the alliance. This is because we were accountable to the subalterns who had voted for this alliance at a historical moment when the BJP under Modi appeared invincible. However, we did not realise that Nitish Kumar was committed to the greatest act of treachery in the recent memory of the nation, which is why within a span of 33 minutes he was transformed from the leader of the Mahagathbadhan to the leader of the NDA.

Somebody rightly commented that he borrowed the idea of portability from the telecom sector, meaning, to keep the chair one only needs to change the service provider (alliance partners).

In fact the slogan, ‘Tejashwi to bahana tha, Bhajpa mein jaana tha’ (Tejashwi was just an excuse, he already had made up his mind to go with BJP) captures the essence of Nitish Kumar’s political opportunism. The governor also took the decision in haste and with a visibly partisan approach; he was probably asked to do so, so as to checkmate the resentment within the JD(U).

As a result when the RJD delegation met the governor and requested to him take the decision in view of the S.R. Bommai judgement of 1994, the governor was conspicuously silent. The only sentence he could utter was, “aap logon ne thodi der kar di (you all are little too late).”

But like with every crisis, a star is born. In this case, speaking on the confidence motion brought by Nitish Kumar as CM of the NDA on July 28, the newly elected leader of the Opposition, Tejashwi Yadav, tore into his politics of opportunism and exposed the “lies” that Nitish Kumar had touted as reasons for breaking the alliance. He spoke about the absolute lack of morality and principled position in his politics and reminded the members that he either needs the BJP or the RJD to remain in the chair.

Tejashwi also reminded Nitish of his call for Sangh-Mukt Bharat (India free of RSS philosophy) and asked how he had moved so swiftly from the camp of ‘Hey Ram’ (Gandhi) to the gang of ‘Jai Shri Ram’. He provided evidence of the JD(U) leader’s political manoeuvrings and frequent u-turns to the applause of the House. He told lawmakers that what Nitish did was nothing but the murder of democracy and by doing so had indulged in a brazen act of betrayal of the poor and the downtrodden who had voted for the alliance.

Tejashwi’s powerful oratory skills and punch-lines made several members of the BJP, JD-U acknowledge that “a leader is born” in Bihar. Perhaps this break-up is a blessing in disguise for the young RJD leader who seems to have come into his own, out of his father’s shadow, able to espouse the concerns of the backward castes, Dalits as well as minorities, alongside progressive section of the upper castes.

While the RJD is committed to walking the political trajectory for larger opposition unity, it has also decided to take the “robbery” of the mandate across Bihar. Tejashwi Yadav has decided to begin a Padyatra from Champaran, so he can tell the people how Nitish Kumar has betrayed the memory of Bapu in the middle of Bihar’s celebrations of the 100th anniversary of the Champaran satyagraha.

The RJD has been saying since July 27 that every mandate has a character and no political party should have the audacity to deceive voters. Everyone remembers what RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat said about abolishing reservation in jobs during Bihar polls and how his comments had galvanised the Dalits-Mahadalits and the Backwards-Extremely Backward sections. To each constituency that party president Lalu Prasad Yadav travelled, he talked about former RSS supremo Golwalkar’s Bunch of Thoughts, in which the same denigratory remarks are made against the SCs and the backward castes.

Thus the Bihar 2015 mandate was decisively against the political philosophy of the RSS and BJP.

This too shall pass. I know it will. As I write this article, senior JD(U) leader and former cabinet minister Sharad Yadav has shown his displeasure with Nitish Kumar’s decision. Perhaps a new phase in opposition unity will begin now. Sharad ji’s presence, together with Behenji Mayawati and several other Opposition leaders on the August 27 rally shall be the foundation on which we will develop an alternative narrative so that the people of India get a choice to contest the right-wing authoritarian postures of the BJP.

Unlike some commentators who would want to believe that Opposition unity has been severely jolted, we are of the view that Nitish Kumar’s departure is good riddance. Moreover, you cannot cement a greater association with a snake in your bosom. The road ahead is clear to us, even if it is a long and tortuous one.

Manoj Kumar Jha is the national spokesperson of the Rashtriya Janata Dal

For all the latest Opinion News, download Indian Express App

  1. A
    ansuman
    Aug 2, 2017 at 4:16 pm
    The son rises ?.Seems like a CHAMCHA -laments to me.Have some shame Mr Jha --and wait till next election when RJD -ie--chor party is completely wiped out.
    Reply
    1. A
      Anil khandelwal
      Aug 2, 2017 at 12:23 pm
      One more barb under the garb of 'sickularism' Corruption ok Sickularism zindabad Is this the same Indian express once steered by the tiger Ramnath Goenka . The progeny needs a DNA test . This can't be Goenkajis blood
      Reply
      1. N
        Nishi kant
        Aug 2, 2017 at 11:44 am
        What to expect from Spokesperson of Political Party. Still not a single word on how he got 26,000 cr property in 26yrs, how he become director in so many companies. Mr Jha and Mr Yadav this is not 1998 anymore, no jokes, no diversion, ppl will ask straight questions. You are heart because Nitish stole your thunder of peojecting Tejaswani as leader and gather sympathy votes. Now also you guys are trying to do same by shifting the blame on Nitish but no word on the allegations, no fact, no paper. If you are innocent do press conference answer rebuttal every alligations with fact, the day you do this that day Star will be born. Till Today it's still another Chor has born.
        Reply
        1. G
          Gaurav Dalvi
          Aug 2, 2017 at 11:20 am
          Did you not know of nitish's nature/style of working before? Why is there a hue and cry about this now? This is quite possible that Mr Nitish Kumar realised his folly of joining hands with corrupt people(you can call it a conscience change) and made him change his party or partners. Being a member of the RJD, you might also be telling us only the side that you want to show and not the complete picture. I would be more than happy to see Bihar as a state growing with flamboyance. Wishing you all the very best.
          Reply
          1. V
            Vishal
            Aug 2, 2017 at 11:09 am
            Do you really believe people of Bihar had voted for RJD and congress? No they voted for mahagathbandan because NITISH was there. If congress and RJD had contested the election alone they would have been wiped out clean like in UP. So the vote was for good governance by Nitish during his term. So the vote was never for anti BJP. It was for development what people of Bihar wants and what they saw under Nitish tenure. He has a right to switch support as along as he brings in development to state of biharWhat do u say to Rahul Gandhi saying " UP behal during the election only to return to Akhilesh support and starts singing a new tune " Hum do UP ke betae "
            Reply
            1. D
              Deepak
              Aug 2, 2017 at 10:49 am
              utter nonsense. the family has looted and continue to do so and in the name of secularism trying to fool the people. This son will go no where but behind the bars.
              Reply
              1. N
                Nitika Goel
                Aug 2, 2017 at 10:41 am
                Indian express has always published articles with not so hidden agenda of tarnishing the government and promoting dynasty based politics. It is motivated for the congress which looted the nation for decades. This newspaper is unable to digest that something goood can be done for our nation by strong leaders like Modi, yogi or Nitish. High time for them to become a unbiased media house else they will just go down the drain.
                Reply
                1. K
                  Kartik
                  Aug 2, 2017 at 11:15 am
                  So true
                  Reply
                2. A
                  Anil Kumar Tandale
                  Aug 2, 2017 at 10:13 am
                  The writer is inventing virtues in illiterates who come from families in politics. BJP got highest votes in 2015. The mandate of 2015 was preceded by false shouting in high decibel of church attacks and Aklaq [who was only fodder but did not become icon of secularism]. The polls were fought to give mandate to Nitish and BJP emerged largest vote catcher together both together had mandate. Hence Nitish fulfilled it. The ance of 'seculars' with quislings does not prod the writer to write atleast one sentence.
                  Reply
                  1. Load More Comments