Dr. Veda Pratap Vaidik
If anyone can best represent today’s Indian politics, it is Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar. One has to concede that present day politics is bereft of any ideology, principle or policy. After the era of Dr.Ram Manohar Lohia and Jayaprakash Narayan Indian politics has stooped to a pitiably dismal level. Current day politics has reduced to a game of power and that is increasingly worrying every genuine citizen of this country.
Is there any leader or party in the country today who can claim that he has at some point not had any clandestine deal with the opponents? In order to enjoy the pleasures of power, all the parties have conveniently kept aside their principles, ideology and policy.
In the present context of Nitish Kumar severing his ties with the BJP and coming out of the NDA coalition, many accuse him of jettisoning the allies with ease at the drop of a hat. This is not the first time the JDU leader has done a political somersault. Nitish has done it many times in the past. That is why his opponents have given him the epithet – Palturam and some ridicule him as Bahurupiya.
However, I tell a line from Sanskrit to those who pass caustic comments against Nitish. Ksane-kshane yannavatamupaiti tadeva rupam ramaniyataayaah, which means that the appearance that changes every moment, is amusing. That is why Nitish Kumar is the most unique and more acceptable compared to the rest of the political leaders. Had it not been so, could he have become the Chief Minister for the eighth time?
Do you know any leader in the country other than Nitish, who has become chief minister eight times? Lalu and Nitish have been the leaders of Bihar’s politics for 4-5 decades, but even today it is the most backward state of the country. Here the pertinent question to the BJP is, despite Nitish getting just half the number of seats the BJP won in the 2020 Bihar assembly elections, why was he made the chief minister?
Why did the BJP unconditionally accept the same Nitish, who once deliberately ignored Narendra Modi in Patna when the latter visited Bihar as chief minister of Gujarat? Was it logical to induct RCP Singh who was not in the good books of Nitish into the Union Cabinet? Before the BJP could overthrow Nitish, he jettisoned the BJP.
To me, Nitish and BJP are not on the same page on many significant issues. Nitish is keen on conducting caste based census and BJP is opposed to it.
In the current government, Chief Minister Nitish Kumar enjoys support of more MLAs compared to the previous NDA dispensation in which BJP was the largest party. In the present government he has the backing of almost every political formation except the BJP. But this does not confirm that this new alliance will get a majority in the next assembly election and it is also not certain he will become the chief minister again. But he can act as a critical catalyst to unite all the opposition parties during the 2024 general elections. Whether the opposition parties will reach a consensus in projecting him as the prime ministerial candidate is a million dollar question. But one thing is for sure, with his flexible nature Nitish can be a buddy of both Ram and Ravana.
*Dr. Vaidik is a widely travelled scholar-journalist. He has visited more than 80 countries on diplomatic and educational missions. Dr. Vaidik has won more than a dozen National and International awards for academic and journalistic excellence. He has been a member of several Advisory Committees of Government of India.