Both BJP and Nitish Kumar face a dilemma

For the BJP it is imperative to drive a wedge between RJD and JD(U) in Bihar. And it would like to ensure that SP and BSP do not come together at the BJP Bhagao-Desh Bachao rally on August 27

Photo by Santosh Kumar/Hindustan Times via Getty Images
Photo by Santosh Kumar/Hindustan Times via Getty Images

Soroor Ahmed

If the motive of the CBI raids on the residential and other premises of Lalu Prasad and his family members is political, as alleged by RJD chief, the target primarily is the Gen-Next. Though the ruling BJP has strongly refuted the charge of political vendetta, the timing and choice of persons raise questions.

Anyway CBI has been used to achieve political goals in the past too. The only difference is that in the past the court had dared to call the country’s premier investigating agency as a caged parrot. If the central government is really using the CBI for achieving political objectives, it is not just interested in fixing Lalu Prasad. They know that he is already a convicted politician who cannot contest any election and come to power. Besides, cases are already pending against him in the fodder scam.

Several political observers see these raids as an exercise to demoralise the RJD rank and file ahead of the August 27 rally christened by Lalu as “Bhajpa Bhagao, Desh Bachao” rally.

While addressing partymen on the 21st anniversary of the RJD’s foundation, just a day before the latest raids on July 6, Lalu asked them to carry on with the rally even if he is put behind bars. The RJD’s plan is to make it bigger than the March 18, 1996 Gareeb Maharally. Mark it, that massive show was organised just after the fodder scam was uncovered.

The BJP wants to hit several high-flying birds with one stone. It knows that Lalu has a tainted image. So, it may not achieve any big political objective and the whole exercise would amount to whipping a dying, if not already a dead horse.

So, the whole exercise was planned much before. The target is the sons and daughters. Even in that there is meticulous planning. To tame the smarter ones. Thus, deputy CM Tejashwi Prasad Yadav’s name figured prominently in the FIR. Second is obviously Misa Bharati, the Rajya Sabha MP.

Once Tejashwi’s name figured in the case the BJP leaders started clamouring for his resignation. They are citing the example of four ministers from whom Nitish Kumar had sought resignation after their names surfaced in any scam.

The most prominent was of Jitan Ram Manjhi, who was removed from the cabinet within four hours after Nitish Kumar became CM on November 24, 2005. It was during the interaction with the media just after oath-taking ceremony that Nitish learnt that a vigilance case was pending against Manjhi. The new CM immediately asked Manjhi to put in his papers. The latter was re-inducted into the cabinet after his name was cleared several months later.

Today Nitish and his party JD(U) has been rendered speechless. It is only the Congress which is standing strongly behind Lalu for obvious reasons. Its leader P Chidambaram’s premises were also raided by the CBI a couple of months back.

As Tejashwi’s resignation––if it is ever sought by Nitish––has the potential to trigger a chain reaction, it may lead to cracks, if not a total break in the Grand Alliance. This is the primary objective of the BJP as it knows that it can never win any future election in Bihar if RJD and JD(U) fight together. Since Nitish has on a couple of occasions adopted a different line– be it during demonetisation or the Presidential election –the BJP wants to deepen this fault line.

It is true Lalu is a convicted politician and cannot hold any office, yet his ability to manoeuvre politics in his favour can never be under-estimated. Unlike Mulayam Singh Yadav he continues to defy the BJP and is trying his level best to unite non-NDA parties like SP and BSP. This is the main objective of the August 27 rally.

The problem with Nitish is that he cannot take a high moral ground. If he could join hands with Lalu within a year of his conviction, what is wrong in working with Tejashwi against whom only an FIR has been lodged. Not to forget, Nitish as the chief minister of Bihar in March 2015 went to meet former Haryana CM, Om Prakash Chautala, convicted in a corruption case, in Tihar Jail just for the sake of merger of theparties of Janata Parivar.

On the other hand, several RJD leaders and even former minister Shivanand Tiwari are citing the names of a couple of chargesheeted ministers in Narendra Modi cabinet––most prominent being Uma Bharati.

However, there is a small solace for Lalu. If the CBI is being misused, RJD alone is not its victims. Margdarshaks Lal Krishna Advani and Murli Manohar Joshi are also facing similar music––that too just weeks before the Presidential poll. So, from Gen-Next to Gen-Bygone none has been spared.

(This first appeared on BBC/Hindi website)

Follow us on: Facebook, Twitter, Google News, Instagram 

Join our official telegram channel (@nationalherald) and stay updated with the latest headlines

Published: 12 Jul 2017, 1:33 PM