During his first term as Chief Minister, Nitish Kumar used phrases such as ‘sushashan’ (good governance) and ‘zero tolerance against corruption’ to win people’s support. Later, half-way into his second term, in an attempt to repackage his governance model, he coined the ‘Triple C’ motto of his leadership, asserting that it was against ‘Crime, Corruption and Communalism’.
As he had parted ways with the NDA government in June 2013 over Narendra Modi’s shift to national politics, he often said that he could not compromise with communalism. As part of UPA, he called for a ‘Sangh-mukt’ Bharat. But when he parted ways with the Grand Alliance, he used another C – corruption — as an alibi. The reason: his then deputy CM, Tejashwi Prasad Yadav’s name came up in connection with a money laundering case in the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) scam case. (Last year, the Patiala House Court in Delhi granted bail to Lalu Prasad, his wife Rabri Devi, son Tejashwi Yadav and others in the case).
Once Nitish was back in the NDA fold, he would often cite ‘Triple C’ to underline his commitment towards good governance. But the formula has not come up often in the current poll campaign.
Nitish Kumar has instead been busy explaining his position on the migrant crisis and his government’s handling of Covid-19 in the state – two issues that he is being targeted for by the Opposition and has been facing public anger for.
The BJP and the Prime Minister have been considered masters of slogans and abbreviations. But once even Nitish Kumar had a few up his sleeve. Only this time, he is finding it difficult to come up with a catchy phrase to silence his critics.