Widespread silent protest against the CAA, NRC and NPR at the human chain organised by the Bihar government coupled with the death of a school teacher Mohammad Daud in Darbhanga district at the height of this event on chilly Jan 19 poured cold water on the whole strategy of chief minister Nitish Kumar. This human chain was organized after Jal Jiwan Hariyali Yatra of Nitish undertaken throughout the length and breadth of Bihar.
While Nitish was touring the state to create consciousness about environment, critics––not just political opposition––questioned the timing of the whole exercise when the country is passing through such a phase of uncertainty. This was the third human chain organized by the state government in the last four years. The first two were organized in Jan 2017 and 2018 to create awareness about prohibition and against the evils of dowry and child marriage respectively.
The human chain of this year was not only anti-climax but evoked lukewarm response as more than two dozen teachers organisations gave a call to boycott it. So did the women associated with the self-help group, Jeevika.
However, what upset the chief minister was the way the whole exercise proved counter-productive. In a number of places men, women and school-children formed human chain with ‘No CAA, No NRC’ written on their T-shirts or head-bands
This was a huge embarrassment for none else but the chief minister himself as one of the places where this type of protest was organized was his home turf of Nalanda district. Here some of the people engaged in the human-chain said that though they support Nitish’s programme on environment consciousness they are against the central government’s CAA, NRC, NPR. This has landed the Janata Dal United in big trouble as many in the alliance partner the BJP started interpreting that such protest in the chief minister’s native district can not take place without a green signal from Janata Dal United top leadership.
Nitish, who is doing a lot of tight rope walking on the issue of CAA, NRC and NPR , will find it very difficult to dissociate himself from such protest on these issues in his own backyard.
Opposition leaders Lalu Prasad and his son Tejashwi Prasad had strongly criticized the whole event and called them as the waste of crores of rupees.
Besides, it was alleged that throughout his Jal Jiwan Hariyali Yatra Nitish caused a lot of pollution as his cavalcade, which included hundreds of vehicles, criss-crossed the state.
As the human chain event was marred by the silent protest at many places it is bound to have political implications within the NDA. After all this human-chain was preceded by the visits of UP chief minister Yogi to Gaya and home minister Amit Shah to Hajipur. They were both in Bihar to muster support for CAA, NRC and NPR. The BJP leadership wants to exploit these issues as the Assembly election in Bihar is going to take place after nine months.
In such a background any discordant voice from the Janata Dal United is bound to have its ramifications.
If politically the human-chain proved somewhat counterproductive it ended up abruptly in a tragedy in Darbhanga with the death of a teacher when he was very much busy in this exercise. May be he died of cold wave. So weather-wise too the timing was not appropriate.