Politics Of Opportunism In Bihar


The Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar’s resignation brings an end to not just an alliance, but an idea which was called Mahagathbandhan (grand alliance) against Modi and the BJP at the national politics. A well-rehearsed play is going on, the characters are selective, and management team and director are quite smart. An alliance which was growing slowly with a hope to counter the BJP in 2019 at national level will remain an unfulfilled dream.

This political development is not appearing all of sudden, but has weeks of shaky relations between Janata Dal (United) and its alliance partner Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD). The recent Bihar crisis is a clear example of crushing an unborn idea. The issue of corruption and lawlessness is not primarily the cause of the crisis, but the politics of grand alliance itself dubious. The grand-alliance brought together arch-rivals JD (U) and RJD, and the Congress as a third partner. After almost 20 year rivalry both came together as an anti-communal force. Nitish Kumar got split in 1994 from Janata Dal under the leadership of Lalu Yadav. The reason for separation was not a matter of ideology/ideas or principle. But it was a matter of political opportunism, selective favoritism, and working style and so on. Again, I can see the pattern repeating itself.

Nitish Kumar has resigned on the ground of ‘zero tolerance’ for corruption. He is a politician with a clean image. He is of course a gem for Indian democracy because very few leaders have this kind of image. But if Nitish Kumar goes with the BJP and forms government then will he be justify his principle? How will he respond, the case of a minister in Narendra Modi’s council of ministers, Uma Bharti, who is also chargesheeted by the same agency? How will he respond Narottam Mishra’s case? How will he respond the selective approach of BJP to deal with corruption and criminality? Political opportunism guides a selective attitude towards one’s own principle. It is very true in this context. If he stands with his principle, then how he went for an alliance with a party whose chief was not only chargesheeted but convicted? He compromised with his principle and easily placed it as the people’s choice. The people of Bihar wanted an alliance with an anti-communal agenda. As a result grand alliance came into existence. The people gave them a mandate. Now he is saying he will take a decision which would be better for Bihar. What about those who voted for grand alliance as anti-BJP force? They definitely didn’t vote for Nitish Kumar, Lalu Yadav or Rahul Gandhi, but voted for an idea. The voters are always being cheated by politicians for their political aspiration or opportunism.

Nitish Kumar has 71 members in the assembly and if he goes with the BJP (53 MLAs) then comfortably get the magic number. The NDA has 58 members (BJP – 53, LJSP – 2, RLSP – 2 and HAM (S) – 1) including JD (U) it reaches 129. They easily form the government.

The RJD, single largest party with 80 members together with the Congress have 107 seats, 15 short to achieve magic number. The only way to get a majority by a split in the JD (U) which is a highly unlikely prospect. It is hard to get the support of one-third of the JD (U) MLAs to RJD-Congress camp.

The grand alliance was also a hope for nurturing politics of Lalu Yadav’s family. He is not part of active politics. Both of his sons were well placed in the politics of Bihar. Tejashwai Yadav became deputy chief minister and also had other important departments. Tej Pratap Yadav also had good portfolios with him. Misa Bharti elected as Rajya Sabha MP. He was well crafted his dynastic politics under the vision of grand alliance.

MD Irfan, PhD candidate, Department of Political Science, Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi Email: [email protected]

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