Nitish’s support to Centre on key issues fuels speculations

Nitish Kumar backs the Centre over demonetisation, but says there is no political motive behind it
Nitish Kumar backs the Centre over demonetisation, but says there is no political motive behind it

Ever since the Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar supported demonetisation, the political atmosphere is agog with speculation of his ‘Ghar Wapsi’ or going with the BJP anytime. The speculation gained further momentum when he sided with the Centre on the issue of appointment of Lt General Bipin Rawat as new army chief by superseding two senior-most officers. The national general secretary of the Janta Dal (United) KC Tyagi was reported to have been silenced when he made a statement against the Centre on the appointment of the general. Sources said that Nitish, as the national president of the party, advised him not to make adverse comments on the issues concerning the interest of the nation. This development gave enough fodder to his political adversaries to push their contention forward.

But, the message is loud and clear that each and every decision of the Union government should not be criticised on the mere ground that the JD (U) is a party of opposition. “I have always been supportive throughout my political career to strengthen the nation’s image,” said Nitish. “Sometimes we are required to think above the politics when it comes to think about the pride of the country.”

Nitish does not do gimmicks for cheap political advantage. He broke his long political innings with Lalu Prasad Yadav in 1994 after the latter started roughly ignoring him. Similarly, the bearded chief minister was forced to break up the 17-yearold successful association with the BJP in June 2013 when his voice of not nominating Narendra Modi as prime ministerial candidate fell on deaf ears. “How could a man be PM when 20 per cent of the country’s population hates him,” he was quoted as saying.

Even after being a part of the NDA government, he supported the Congress nominee Pranab Mukherjee for the post of president during 2012 elections. Also, he made it clear that he was not happy with the statement of then Rajya Sabha member and senior JD (U) leader, Shivanand Tiwary that the Manmohan Singh government should dismiss Gen VK Singh with immediate effect. Nitish was said to have suggested to Tiwary, “We should avoid from poking our noses in the troubled waters of the Union government.”

While speaking to a senior journalist, Nitish disclosed his unhappiness with a few media personalities who are in habits of reading political angles in all of his statements and decisions he makes and takes. “Whether they do that knowingly or unknowingly only they know. But I could only say that I do not have confusion on the stands I have taken on the issues pertaining to the national interests. There is no question of rejoining the BJP. My association with the RJD and Congress is as solid as rock”. He also said that he was worried of the ‘experienced’ pen pushers who are caught into such rumour-mongerings and speculations and fan it.

The Chief Minister said the rumours about his hobnobbing with the BJP are meant to confuse the people. “I have felt that the approach of the Union government against corruption through demonetisation is correct. Thus, I supported it. After 30 December, we will sit and analyse the impact of it and then take a decision whether we should continue supporting it or not.” When asked about his meeting with the BJP chief Amit Shah, the Chief Minister retorted in jest, “The patrakaar who wrote this news should answer this question because it was she who had organised our meeting at her farm house in Delhi”.

Even senior RJD leader and former MP Jagdanand Singh, who does not have cordial relation with the Chief Minister, said that the rumours of Nitish may have political alliance with the NDA in days to come was being spread by BJP leaders with sole motive of destabilising the grand-alliance government in Bihar. “What sort of political advantage he will be getting by leaving us and joining the NDA?” asked Singh, who handled various ministerial portfolios in 15-year-rule of Lalu-Rabri.

However, there is no dearth of such people who opine that Nitish will come back to BJP because both the RJD and the Congress of the Grand Alliance in Bihar government are upset with the stand of Nitish on the issues relating to demonetisation and superseding of the two Lt generals. Senior BJP leader and former Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi had said, “Nitish is finding his hands tied in running the government following of undue pressures on the part of his allies. He in fact feels suffocated.”

Nitish Kumar showed his displeasure at the media for trying to find political angles in all of his statements

He said that the leaderships of the three partners of the Grand Alliance government has been suffering from the trust deficit among themselves. “When Nitish worked with us for 17 years — from 1996 to June 2013 — we had given him free hand to run the government, never put any unwanted burden on him, even during Atal Behari Vajpayee’s rule, no pressure was levied. However, today he today he feels uneasy in the company of Lalu Yadav, who is using the Chief Minister to establish his two sons Tejashwai Prasad Yadav and Tej Pratap Yadav”.

Prem Kumar, leader of the Opposition in Bihar Assembly, said that the anger of the leaders of RJD and Congress could be understood from the fact how Rabri Devi misbehaved with Nitish on the issue of demonetisation. “She went to the extent of asking Nitish of getting himself married with the sister of Sushil Kumar Modi. That also shows the quantum of hatred she has in her heart against the Chief Minister.”

He further said that both the Lower and Upper Houses did not take a single question for answering because of ruling legislators from the RJD, though Nitish wanted the business of Bihar legislature to continue. “In reality, the Chief Minister felt helpless when the RJD legislators would start creating ruckus inside the House.”

Recently, at the RJD’s legislature meeting held at his official residence. where he urged Nitish to clear the rumours.  The Chief Minister responded by declaring “the Grand Alliance would continue till next elections of 2020”.

In reply to a question, Prem Kumar said, “The party would take a decision after Nitish proposes for his reentry into the saffron alliance.” Ram Vilas Paswan, Union Minister, however, said, “ We will welcome Nitish if he returns to the NDA. Upendra Prasad Kushwaha, Union Minister of State for Human Resources informed TEHELKA that he shared the views of Paswan. “But, since I know Nitish since long and he has good habits of supporting the issues of national interest. It was he who among from the Opposition side supported on the GST first. His supporting demonetisation does not mean he will be joining us,” he said. “But the politics is the art of possibilities. It does not have permanent enemies or friends. Earthquake can hit anytime and anywhere.”