Ahead of Amit Shah’s visit to Patna, the Bharatiya Janata Party is out to queer the pitch for Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar and has once again made it amply clear that the next Lok Sabha election would be fought on its agenda and not on those set by the alliance partner Janata Dal (United) or anyone else.
A day before the Janata Dal (United), national executive meeting in New Delhi, Union minister of state and BJP leader Giriraj Singh on July 7 met the jailed Bajrang Dal and Vishwa Hindu Parishad activists in Nawada prison. They were involved in the communal riots in Nawada, the minister’s parliamentary constituency on the occasion of Ram Navami in March last. Nawada was among a dozen places in Bihar which were rocked by violence then.
Giriraj’s action followed a similar gesture by his ministerial colleague, Jayant Sinha, in his own parliamentary constituency Hazaribagh in neighbouring Jharkhand. Sinha on July 6 greeted eight convicts of Ramgarh mob lynching case after they got bail from the Jharkhand high court.
After the national executive meeting of his party in New Delhi on July 8 JD(U) general secretary, KC Tyagi criticized Jayant Sinha and Giriraj Singh. And, said that his party would make no compromise with either communalism or corruption. A day later Nitish too tried to rebut Giriraj Singh’s allegation that to sound secular the state government is crushing the Hindus. He called Giriraj’s stand as unacceptable.
By unleashing the likes of Giriraj Singh, the BJP has once again made it clear its own game plan. Nitish, who meanwhile tried to do some secular manoeuvring, is once again finding himself pushed back to wall
The brazen disregard of the law of the land by two Union ministers from two neighbouring states within two days of each other are not isolated developments as many in the NDA would try to argue.
They came at the worst of time for Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar, who is to complete the one year of his home-coming to the NDA on July 27. Though he had resigned from the Grand Alliance on that very date last year on the plea that his party is not going to make any compromise with corruption in which RJD leaders were alleged to be involved yet he has shown no sign of quitting the NDA in spite of the fact that the BJP leaders have been communally inciting people.
Incidentally, be it Jayant Sinha’s action or Giriraj’s outburst against the Nitish government in Bihar, they have come within days of July 12 meeting between Nitish and BJP national president Amit Shah in Patna.
The saffron party had sent a clear-cut signal to Nitish not to flex his secular muscle. The BJP knows that the door for Nitish’s re-entry into the Grand Alliance has virtually been closed by the RJD and now by AICC Bihar incharge Shaktisinh Gohil and spokesperson Priyanka Chaturvedi.
A cornered Nitish will not only have to contest on the BJP agenda but also agree to the saffron party’s diktat on the issue of sharing of seats.
When Nitish Kumar kept his tongue-tied after a series of communal violence and their open backing by Giriraj Singh and another ministerial colleague Ashwini Choubey it was argued that there was some political compulsion for doing so.
But after a by-poll defeat by the BJP across the country on May 31 Nitish had become much vocal and his party leaders had been making big demands for seats for the coming Lok Sabha election.
By unleashing the likes of Giriraj Singh the BJP has once again made it clear its own game plan. Nitish, who meanwhile tried to do some secular manoeuvring, is once again finding himself pushed back to wall.