Political Rats aka Kursi Kumars



After Nitish Kumar abandoned the Mahaghatbandhan to form a government with the BJP in Bihar, someone aptly coined a new term for him: ‘Khursi Kumar’. He has fooled no one with his rhetoric of having ended the alliance on the isssue of corruption; the people have long learnt to smell a political rat.

As pointed out by political analysts and commentators, it is a murder charge that is pending against him, the lucre of greener political pastures and the RJD JD(U) rivalry that account for Nitish’ cross over to the NDA.

This becomes more obvious considering that Nitish’s stated reason of corruption of the Yadavs for leaving the Maha-ghatbandhan holds no water. None of the corruption charges against Lalu and Tejashwi that he cited, occurred during the Mahaghat-bandhan rule, even as the fact remains that Tejashwi had nothing to do with politics at the time the cited corruption has allegedly occurred. In addition, the decade old corruption charges against Lalu was known to Nitsh much before the Mahaghatbandhan was constructed. Besides, Nitish now has BJP ministers and MLAs having long lists of worse criminal cases than corruption against them. He cannot claim any moral superiority with regards to the Yadavs.

The end result, however, is that those who voted for the anti-BJP Mahaghatbandhan have had their aspirations abused and betrayed. They voted for a communalism free, secular, inclusive government to rule the state, but after having been elected riding on such ideological positioning, Nitish and his part of the JD (U) have brazenly turned their back to these ideologies, and thus voter aspirations as well, handing over their welfare over to those whom they largely rejected – namely the BJP.

On a wider note, it is not just Nitish who has indulged in such ‘khursi and skin’ saving actions. The recent months have seen many politicians from various parties doing the same, crossing over to the BJP. None of the turncoats can claim public and national interest rather than personal gain for their u-turns because they were elected on ideologies and programmes opposite to that of the BJP, which is hell-bent on creating an unequal, fascist state. As indicated by the Gujarat Congress MLAs during the recent Gujarat Rajya Sabha elections, considerable money has changed hands for this to happen.

There is no denying that most other political parties in India have indulged in condemnable but limited underhand political practices in pursuit of power, but it is even more undeniable that never has the nation seen such brazen, extensive and obsessive efforts made to gain power at any cost as is the case with the BJP — something which even the Election Commission of India recently stated. Money has been employed extensively by the ruling dispensation to gain power even after losing the Constitutional process to power. Examples are Goa and Manipur.The BJP’s stated obsession with creating a one party government without any opposition, as indicated by its ‘Congress Mukt Bharat’ rhetoric, has encouraged unprecedented political corruption, moral or otherwise, among our elected represen-tatives and brought out the worst in them. When money fails to work, the govern-ment machinery has been used to target important opposition politicians to sidetrack them. This includes politicians like Lalu Prasad Yadav and PC Chidam-baran, among others.

All of this has brought to the fore the ideological and consonant moral bankruptcy of the political class in India. Under such circumstances, how can a voter believe the stated ideological position of a electoral candidate or a political party to be true? What guarantee does a voter have that his elected representative will not betray his aspirations to save his own skin, interests or khursi? More importantly, how can the Constitution of India that requires probity of the political class to ensure the implementation of its democractic processes be enforced when mostly all that drives our elected representatives is self-interest and self-preservation? Most of our politicians are sitting ducks for anyone who has the money or power, or both, to bully or manipulate them.

An urgent and firm course correction affected by the people is needed and it will essentially have to start with addressing the root of all of this – increasing and unfettered greed and hunger for power. The solution is for the voters, for now, to first show the BJP the door as they are the ones currently presiding over the detrimental political climate in India. Later, the voters will have to show the door to every political party and politician that betrays their trust and their aspirations.

Simultaneously, more stringent and detailed laws to prevent the betrayal of voters by elected representatives who lie their way to power, only to pursue money or destructive ideologies need to be enacted. The anti-defection law at best is an ineffectual tool; political parties have found ways around it.

Oliver D’Souza is the editor of Dalit Post and an ward winning author.

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