Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar had been getting all the good news since the thumping 2015 Assembly election win. He has been basking in the glory of the Bihar liquor ban – his theme song for his national projection. He just took over reins of JD (U) from veteran Sharad Yadav. But Rajya Sabha MP Anil Sahni’s LTC episode has put spokes in his national wheels.
JD (U) is buying its time to put the blame on BJP. It is not yet targeting Vice President’s decision of giving prosecution nod to CBI in alleged LTC fraud involving the EBC JD (U) MP. Silence and ambivalence are the best political options left for Nitish.
BJP obviously has reasons to feel happy, especially the party’s Bihar unit that has now some reasons to attack JD (U). Interestingly, Grand Alliance partner RJD is also privately taking some vicarious pleasure to see some discomfort for JD(U) often trying to prevail over RJD in governance matters.
JD(U) that takes a high moral ground on its campaign against corruption has all the more reasons to keep quiet. Anil Sahni is trying hard to play a victim and bring in EBC and poor man’s angle to the episode but it may not cut much ice. The party is not backing it for now. The episode is also the first litmus test for new JD (U) president Nitish Kumar. The cliched and standard line of – law will take its own course – is perhaps the biggest defence.
But one thing is clear. JD(U) is halted in its exuberance for national drive. It is embarrassed even though party leaders are putting up brave faces. Sahni may be left alone to fend for himself. Image-conscious Nitish is likely to lie low and play it down.