The opposition has been attacking the Grand Alliance (GA) over the rise in crime in Bihar. Chief Minister Nitish Kumar is not someone who can stay unaffected by the issues which violate the law and order in the state. However, the opposition led by the NDA is of the view that Nitish under pressure from RJD’s Lalu Prasad Yadav is not doing enough to curb criminal activities. However, the ground reality is something different.
A National Democratic Alliance (NDA) leader, on the condition of anonymity, says, “We cannot derive any political mileage out of the false allegations being levelled against Nitish and his coalition government. He (Nitish) has been tried and tested as a CM on the law and order front as well.”
Significantly, his loyalty towards his party also did not stop him from saying that the current ploy to show Nitish as a crime-friendly politician would backfire as was the case during the Assembly elections last year.
This is true. Ever since he became chief minister for the first time in November 2005, Nitish has been telling everyone, “Hum na hi kisi ko fasayenge aur na hi kisi ko bachaynge (We will not frame anybody nor save anyone if he or she commits a crime.)”
Just after taking oath as CM of Bihar on 24 November 2005, Nitish Kumar had promised to free the state of crime.
Even his harshest critics confessed that he succeeded to a great extent in fulfilling this promise. Records showed that from January 2006 to December 2015 a total of 92,343 criminals were convicted, perhaps the highest conviction rate in the country.
He got applause from across the globe for restoring the rule of law in the state. Several criminal-turned-politicians started making statements that previous government was happy to play ball with them than Nitish’s.
Surendra Kishore, a senior journalist, said, “Long back Nitish Kumar had told me that he may become CM with the support of crook MLAs. But once at helm, he would never compromise with his commitment towards the people of the state.”
In fact, the opposition, especially the NDA, is stepping up its campaign that crime rates have gone up ever since the GA of the Congress, the RJD and the JD-U led by Nitish Kumar formed the government in November last year.
While Jitan Ram Manjhi, former chief minister and president of Hindustani Awam Party (HAM) alleged that in the last 100 days around 600 people were killed, Prem Kumar, leader of opposition in the Assembly, said that Nitish is being pressurised by Lalu and a repeat of ‘Jungle raj’ in the state is imminent.
The brutal killings of two engineers in Darbhanga in December followed by murder of another engineer in Muzaffarpur besides gunning down of three politicians of the NDA in broad day light as well as robberies in 15 banks provided enough ammunition to the opposition and media to fire at chief minister.
Moreover, rape of a minor girl allegedly by a legislator of the ruling RJD, Raj Ballabh Yadav Yadav, on 6 February and failure to arrest him has made the NDA ballistic.
It is an open secret that the present ruling dispensation is painted as a government of, for and by the backward classes.
The rumour doing the rounds is that the crime is happening with tacit support of the current government to teach the upper castes a lesson for supporting the NDA during the Assembly poll.
However, the crackdown on the criminals by the police has exposed the opposition leaders’ fallacy.
Incidentally, people from upper castes have played vital roles in the crimes of the last three months. Santosh Jha, now arrested, and his sister planned the murder of the two engineers in Darbhanga, whereas there are enough reasons to believe that Brijnathi Singh, Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) leader of Vaishali and Biseshwar Ojha, BJP leader from Shahpur in Bhojpur district, were killed over gang rivalry.
In fact, both were facing dozens of criminal cases at various police stations in their respective districts.