This is the third public function Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar have attended together and shared the dais since May 2014. While the previous two occasions were government functions, this one was religious. Prakash Parv – the 350th birth anniversary of Guru Gobind Singh – ends formally today after a week-long congregation of over 5 lakh devotees in Patna.
WATCH VIDEO | PM Narendra Modi Praises Bihar CM Nitish Kumar For Imposing Prohibition On Alcohol
PM Modi praised Nitish Kumar for the arrangements for Prakash Parv and for his prohibition policy. Though the praise for the former could be called as a matter of protocol by the PM for the host CM, praise for prohibition would have encourage Nitish to go full-throttle ahead with the issue as the mainstay of his national plank in his upcoming public meetings. Nitish will now find more reasons and occasions to ask the PM to enforce a total liquor ban in the country.
Being praised by the PM for Prakash Parv and prohibition suits the national agenda of Nitish Kumar. He has been already linking it to Gandhi to score some points and has requested Nobel laureaute Kailash Satyarthi to conduct a study on the good effects of a liquor ban on society. With each of Nitish’s public meetings in and outside Bihar dominated by the liquor ban as a theme, the JD (U) national president will feel all the more encouraged now to speak about it at forthcoming rallies, especially in UP during the election campaign.
Prakash Parv – the biggest religious festival of Sikhs in recent times — was also going to be a test of the Kumar government because of its sheer scale. The state government had started preparations a year ago. Dozens of gurudwara-type gates were erected at Patna, the streets were clean and elaborate staying arrangements for pilgrims were made, proving that Nitish has been equal the task.
WATCH VIDEO | PM Modi Says Guru Gobind Singh’s Principles Will Keep Motivating Us To Work For Good
He received praise from all shades of political opinion: from Punjab CM Parkash Singh Badal to former Punjab CM Captain Amarinder Singh, from Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal to Modi. Nitish has always been known as a big event manager. Holding Prakash Parv gave him just the kind of opportunity he relishes to prepare in detail. He has now set his eyes on preparations for the centenary year celebrations of Champaran Satyagrah. He uses such occasions to boost his national image.
The underlying message of the Modi-Nitish camaraderie always has political meaning. It is not about how close he may seem to the BJP in recent months. It is about how it works effectively in keeping RJD chief Lalu Prasad in check as a senior alliance partner. Nitish will keep playing a see-saw game with the BJP and the RJD. Even if both parties see through Nitish’s political guile, the BJP willl keep trying to increase its proximity to Nitish and the RJD will keep trying to ensure Nitish does not get too close to BJP for Lalu’s comfort. The PM, for his part, tries to be generous to his most formidable rival and Nitish tries to show respect for the office of the prime minster while he keeps Lalu guessing.