Foundation of unity of Opposition shaken
Published on Monday, 31 July 2017 11:23
Signs had started appearing long back that the distance between Nitish Kumar and Narendra Modi is reducing and the bonhomie with the NDA is growing. The whole country was realising this situation, but those who have the responsibility of building the edifice of opposition unity, remained indifferent and did not notice it. They did not understand that Nitish is particular about his image and power. He is also called a big weathercock of politics. In such a situation, he was not comfortable with the alliance of power with Lalu Prasad Yadav. There were clear indications that he could leave the boat anytime. The opposition stalwarts seemed to have felt that the issues like communalism and being the strongest candidate for the prime minister’s post would be able to keep Nitish deterred, but Nitish had realised that the opposition at the moment could only dream of capturing power at the centre.
Well, there is an old history of Nitish that he does not tolerate corruption. In 2005, he had shown his education minister Jitan Ram Manjhi the door a few hours after taking an oath, because Manjhi’s name had come up in the education scam. When he was in power with the BJP, he had sought resignation from his own party leaders Ramanand Singh and Awadhesh Kushwaha.
Nitish knows that caste equation in Bihar politics is not at all in his favour. He comes from Kurmi community, which is only 4 per cent of the population in Bihar. He gets support of other classes because he is known for good governance and clean image. Had he remained with the Lalu family, he would have had to bear losses. Though he had entered into an alliance with Lalu for capturing power in Bihar and stopping the BJP in 2015 elections, the arithmetic of Bihar election results must certainly have churned his mind. In the Bihar Assembly elections of 2015, the Bharatiya Janata Party got 24.4 per cent votes, while RJD got 18.4 per cent and Janata Dal (United) got 16.8 per cent votes. Clearly, this arithmetic must have compelled him to think that it is wise to go with the BJP. His calculation was simple: There is no hope of Prime Minister’s chair coming his way, but if his image suffers by being in company of Lalu in Bihar, the future will be dark.
Nitish is the veteran politician and with one stone he has killed two birds. The Lalu family is weak and after the latest allegations of corruption, their troubles have only increased. Who can exploit Lalu’s weakness better than Nitish! Nitish, who was with the BJP since 1996, had made ‘Gundaraj’ his weapon in the fight against corruption during Lalu’s tenure, and in 2005 he had joined hands with the BJP to oust Lalu and Rabri from power. Back with the BJP once again, Nitish will not leave any chance to further weaken Lalu now! Nitish’s another goal is to maintain his chair in the next election. Though the Bihar Assembly elections are three years away, even the BJP will not be able to become a party of backward classes during this period. Therefore, Nitish will fill the void because BJP’s image in Bihar is that of a party of upper castes.
The opposition parties which tried to unite against the BJP and Narendra Modi actually did not understand Nitish. Lalu Yadav’s ego was also a big reason behind this. Lalu himself was not in power but he was not leaving any chance to prove that the biggest party in Bihar was his. He started making internal manoeuvers to ensure that Bihar’s next chief minister would be his son Tejashwi Yadav. So in Bihar, it was a matter of direct internal competition between Lalu and Nitish. The need was that the leaders of all opposition parties should have stayed united and tried to reconcile between Lalu and Nitish so that Nitish could have got along well with the opposition parties. In the initiative of unity, certainly Lalu and the Congress could have played a major role. Nitish had also met the Congress high command, but the Congress did not understand the need to tell Lalu that Tejashwi should resign. So why should one not believe that the Congress too is responsible for this political storm to a large extent. In fact, the country is hoping that Congress will behave like a responsible national party as before, but such behaviour is not witnessed anywhere. The Congress is seen as a scared, frightened party. The Congress will have to understand that just opposing ‘Indu Sarkar’ will not work. It will have to take to the streets to open a front against the Modi government. Does the Congress have the guts today? The reality is that Congress is fast losing the opportunities.
As far as the other opposition parties are concerned, the way in which top leaders of the opposition parties across the country had gathered during Nitish’s previous swearing-in ceremony, it had raised hopes that Nitish would become the foundation of opposition unity. There were some expectations from Akhilesh Yadav too, but the BJP defeated him in his fortress. The reason for this is that most parties are being run like a private limited company. Their policies are being framed as per personal ambitions. Some parties are like a family clan. In such a situation, how can people trust the opposition?
Here, the duo of Narendra Modi and Amit Shah is playing the game of victory. In politics, their every move is unique and unmatched. It seems as if a continuous churning is going on in their mind about every corner of the country. Contrary to this, there is no such churning in any opposition party. Modiji and Amit Shah’s pair decides so fast that their opponents are left gaping. Why does the opposition not show similar alacrity in deciding? Time is important in politics. It seems that the time is running out for the opposition parties, and for this opposition parties themselves are responsible.
Before I conclude
Even if Pakistan is in the grips of anarchy, even if the law and order there has gone haywire, even if there is an army intervention in politics, but the judiciary of Pakistan has proved itself powerful at every stage. By showing courage to indict Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif for corruption, the judiciary has maintained the hope of justice in the minds of the citizens of that country. This has also proved that the judiciary of Pakistan is not under any pressure.
One more thing
Last week, I had written about Kovindji that he will not prove to be a rubber stamp under any circumstance. I expect this to happen today, but I am surprised by the fact that he did not mention any of the great patriots, freedom fighters, the country’s first prime minister and architect of modern India Jawaharlal Nehru in his address after the swearing-in ceremony. Your Majesty, you should have mentioned Nehruji!