Muzaffarpur rapes: Politics behind resignation of JD(U)’s Manju Verma
The Muzaffarpur rape episode has provided the BJP an opportunity to show Nitish his place
The resignation of the social welfare minister of Bihar Manju Verma might have been an outcome of a a ‘deal’ between the two premier parties of the ruling National Democratic Alliance of the state.
The move sparked off speculations as it came on the eve of the election for the post of deputy charirman of the Rajya Sabha in which the Bharatiya Janata Party has decided to support Harivansh, the first time MP of the Janata Dal (United).
Harivansh is the former editor Hindi daily, Prabhat Khabar, which has its editions in Jharkhand and Bihar He hails from the Rajput caste as against Manju Verma who comes from Kushwaha (Koeri) caste.
Bihar watchers are of the view that chief minister Nitish Kumar succumbed under pressure as he has been under attack not only from the opposition but from several senior leaders of the BJP. Besides, the Supreme Court took a strong note of the rape of 34 minors in the shelter home for girls in Muzaffarpur.
Not only that, Nitish appears to be apprehensive of the statement given by the main accused and the man who used to run the state government NGO, Brajesh Thakur.
Analysts are of the view that Bihar chief minister will have to pay a heavy political price as Manju was not only the lone woman minister in his cabinet but also hailed from the Koeri caste, which along with Kurmi, the caste to which Nitish Kumar belongs, are considered as the mainstay of the Janata Dal (United).
It is only after 2010 that the Union minister of state for human resources development Upendra Kushwaha and the leader of Rashtriya Lok Samata Party, had started challenging Nitish’s clout over this caste.
He now claims that Koeris, numerically larger than Kurmis, are not getting their due in the establishment which is dominated by Kurmis and other upper castes.
It needs to be recalled that only last week Manju had issued a veiled threat to Nitish by stating that she is being targeted because she comes from Kushwaha caste.
Though apparently she was hitting out at the Rashtriya Janata Dal which has been demanding her resignation, the truth is that the message was for Nitish.
So the decision of Nitish to get rid of Manju is fraught with serious implications.
Incidentally, Harivansh was in the good books of Nitish, a man who has mastered the art of handling––if not controlling––the media. Harivansh is not the only mediaperson to be rewarded by the Bihar chief minister. It is other thing that there is a list of those who have been punished too for daring to write against him and bring out the truth.
After all when Nitish crossed over to the NDA in July last year his party was expecting at lest two berths in the Union cabinet. The names doing the rounds in Bihar was that of Nitish’s Man Friday and former IAS, R C P Singh, a Kurmi, and Santosh Kushwaha, a Koeri, who is an MP from Purnea. Santosh was actually in the BJP and joined the JD(U) on the eve of 2014 Lok Sabha poll
Harivansh might not have used his caste to promote his political ambition. Yet the BJP seems to have exploited his Rajput background to settle its own score with Nitish, who has, of late, started flexing his muscle again.
It is an established fact that Rajputs are over-represented in the saffron party. Not only the highest number of the party MPs come from this caste there are several chief ministers who are Rajputs. Needless to mention the caste of Union home minister Rajnath Singh.
Even after the removal of Rajiv Pratap Rudi there are two Rajput ministers in the Union cabinet from Bihar. They are agriculture minister Radha Mohan Singh and power minister RK Singh, India’s former home secretary and first time MP from Ara. There are in all eight ministers from Bihar against one Yadav, Kushwaha, Bhumihar, Brahmin, Dalit and Kayastha. Thus caste groups, such as Bania and EBCs, with much larger percentage of population have completely been overlooked though they voted strongly for the BJP.
On the face, BJP might have been placating Nitish Kumar. But the truth is that the saffron party’s move is a calculated one which may upset the Janata Dal (United) president.
After all when Nitish crossed over to NDA in July last year his party was expecting at least two berths in the Union cabinet. The names doing the rounds in Bihar was that of Nitish’s man friday and former IAS, RCP Singh, a Kurmi, and Santosh Kushwaha, a Koeri, who is an MP from Purnea. Santosh was actually in the BJP and joined the JD(U) on the eve of 2014 Lok Sabha poll.
But prime minister Narndra Modi was not ready to oblige Nitish for his change of loyalty. The BJP leadership took its own time and selected the man of its own choice from Janata Dal (United) for the post of deputy chairman.
Nitish might not have been happy over the choice of Harivansh at this point of time, but he can not even disown him as the former journalist is his own man, who has over the years developed friendship within the saffron party too.
On the other hand the Bihar chief minister dropped Manju like a hot potato after the state governor Satyapal Malik’s letter to the Cente as well as criticism from senior BJP leaders like Dr CP Thakur and Gopal Narayan Singh.
The Muzaffarpur rape episode has provided the BJP an opportunity to show Nitish his place.
- Nitish Kumar
- Janata Dal (United)
- Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairman
- PM Narendra Modi
- Muzaffarpur shelter home case
- Harivansh Narayan Singh
- Bihar Social Welfare Minister Manju Verma