Blaming RJD for attack on Nitish’s convoy is a political blunder by JDU

By blaming the opposition RJD and its leader Tejashwi Prasad Yadav for the attack, Nitish’s party, the ruling Janata Dal (United) unconsciously pushed the Mahadalits into RJD’s fold

Photo courtesy: Twitter
Photo courtesy: Twitter

Soroor Ahmed

Once the strongest chief minister of Bihar, Nitish Kumar was on January 12 stoned by the weakest social groups of the state––Mahadalit women as well as men––at village Nandan under Dumraon block of Buxar district, about 100 km west of Patna.

Curiously, the Bihar CM always claims that he champions the cause of women and Mahadalits most. Twenty-eight people––including 10 women––were arrested. Five FIRs were lodged, which include 99 named and about 700 unnamed people.

The ruling Janata Dal (United)––whose president Nitish Kumar is––has directly blamed the opposition RJD and its leader Tejashwi Prasad Yadav for the attack.

Initially it was thought that it was just another instance of people’s anger Nitish had to face during his Yatras. This time too when he launched his Vikas Samiksha Yatra (March for Assessment of Developmental Works) from West Champaran last month he came across several protest demonstrations at various places.

But the Buxar attack on his carcade––which he escaped––reminded the people of an infamous incident which took place during Adhikar Yatra on September 27, 2012 (when he was in alliance with the Bharatiya Janata Party for the first time) he had to be rescued from an attack by an unruly mob of contract teachers in Khagaria.

At that time, it was none else but an allegedly notorious gangster Ranvir Yadav––the husband of JD(U) MLA, Poonam Yadav–– who snatched the rifle from his wife’s bodyguard to fire in the air to disperse the agitating para-teachers.

Nitish publicly thanked Ranvir Yadav, who has, in the past been accused of several serious crimes.

In fact, in 2012, Nitish had launched the Adhikar Yatra to demand the Special Category Status to Bihar. On November 4, he organised a big rally in Patna and again on March 17, 2013 exhibited another show of strength in Delhi’s Ramlila Maidan.

But ever since Narendra Modi has come in power at the Centre, the Bihar chief minister seems to have forgotten the demand for the Special Category Status. Now it appears that the issue was only kept alive during the entire UPA-II by Nitish for purely political reason.

The January 12 attack was, however, different from the expression of people’s anger in the past. Those who pelted stones were not para-teachers, students, government or other contractual employees, but they belonged to socially and economically the weakest section of the society. What is strange is that the Mahadalit women were in the forefront.

Soon, the social media was flooded with images of women pelting stones on policemen and women, who form the CM’s convoy. The cops retaliated with equal ferocity.

The pent up anger of the Mahadalits of a Buxar village was somewhat different from the upsurge among Dalits elsewhere in the country.

The womenfolk, in particular, wanted the chief minister to visit their hamlet and see for himself as to how no work has been done. But Nitish reportedly visited the villages dominated by non-Mahadalits.

The incident exposed the delivery mechanism system of the state government.

As so many governments have come and gone since June 16, 2013 and Nitish himself has changed the alliance thrice, there is bureaucratic uncertainty at the grassroots level. Rampant corruption and loot have badly hit the developmental works.

Demonetisation and the shoddy implementation of GST have caused slow down in economy at the national level.

The imposition of total prohibition has deprived the state of a sizeable amount of excise duty. To boost its economy, the state government was suddenly reminded of earning money by imposing duties on sand mining.

However, the Patna high court stayed the move. The crackdown on sand traders brought all the construction work to a virtual standstill.

No doubt the builders and real estate dealers were affected, but those hurt most were the labourers, mostly backwards and Dalits or Mahadalits. Thus the anger is very palpable among this section.

The Nandan incident may just be the tip on the iceberg.

The JD(U) made a political blunder when it, in a way, ‘credited’ RJD for the incident. By doing so the party unconsciously pushed the Mahadalits into RJD’s fold.

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