BJP's bid to vilify Nitish Kumar, working to unite Opposition, falls flat
The BJP's top leadership is unnerved by the JD(U) leader's bid to try and forge a joint front of Opposition parties in the run-up to the 2024 General Election
The cat is out of the bag. It is now no more a secret that the week-old indiscriminate firing by four criminals in Bihar's Begusarai was planned by close aides of a local BJP leader. Only a couple of days back, a Congress leader had came out with the revelation that the firing was restored to by the leader of the criminals said to be close to a BJP leader. This was enacted with the primary aim to create panic and the impression amongst the people that the state was in the throes of the proverbial ‘Jungle Raj’.
It seems that the desperation of the BJP leaders to keep the pot boiling in Bihar has made them willing to resort to deploying the 'dirty tricks department'.
Nitish Kumar had said that a well-knit conspiracy was behind the firing spree on the national highway in Begusarai last Tuesday. "Backward class people live at one place where the indiscriminate firing took place, while another spot is dominated by minorities. It shows it has been executed deliberately and in a planned manner. It is definitely a conspiracy. I have asked police officers to examine the incident from all angles and probe the conspiracy angle," he said.
With Nitish Kumar entering into the national ring with the arduous mission to organise and unite the opposition, the BJP’s leadership has become restive. It deployed some of its known faces to criticise and launch a tirade against him. Sushil Modi, who was spending his time in hibernation, was made to command the insinuation campaign.
This has political implication. As Nitish’s deputy during the two NDA governments, he had earned the reputation of being close to him. Obviously, the BJP leadership nurses the view that anything coming out of his mouth will be trusted by the common people of Bihar, but it’s actually far from the truth.
His compatriot Ravi Shankar Prasad also took upon the task of attacking Nitish. But his influence and popular support is really quite negligible. His own party fellows confide that even the people of his own caste, the Kayasthas, do not accept him as their leader.
As far as Union minister Nityanand Rai is concerned, the Yadavs of Bihar have outright disowned him as their leader despite all his tall talk of being so.
It must be really disheartening for the Modi-Shah duo that all their machinations to show Nitish in bad light and keep him confined to Bihar have failed. Now the task is left to the lower rank to create a frenzy among the people about his alleged failure to provide a clean and effective governance.
Undeterred, Nitish is steadily going ahead with his mission to unite the Opposition. His recent assertion that the special category status will be granted to 'all the backward states' if the united Opposition that he seeks to build comes to power at the Centre has simply unnerved the Modi-Shah combine.
He had observed, "If we get an opportunity to form the next government, all the backward states will be granted the special category status. There is no reason why it cannot be done". This showed he is unfazed by the diatribes launched against him.
If the JD(U) sources are to be believed, he is also going to raise the issue of the denial of central university status to Patna University. In October 2017, in the presence of PM Narendra Modi who was attending the centenary celebrations of the university, Nitish had sought his support to declare the institution as a central university. Modi had given an assurance for the same, but it never happened.
Even Nalanda University which replaced Nitish with Amartya Sen as the chair of the Board has not received such a status.
Though some sceptics are too willing to subscribe to the BJP’s vilification campaign against Nitish, there is general appreciation for him. The campaign of the Godi media that he is striving to become the PM has been roundly rejected by the common people as well as those in political circles.
Meanwhile, on his part, Nitish Kumar has rubbished the BJP's jibe that 'Jungle Raj' has returned to Bihar with the Mahagathbandhan government coming to power, and asserted that there is 'Janata Raj' (people's rule) in the state.
“Stray incidents are not a reflection of the overall law and order situation in the state. What Jungle Raj? Maintaining law and order is the priority of our government. There is Janata Raj", he emphasised.
He also said BJP leaders' comments do not affect him or his government which is committed to work for the people of Bihar.
(Views are personal)