Nitish Kumar once again broke alliance with the Bharatiya Janata Party and joined hands with estranged ally Lalu Prasad Yadav. The fact that he has once again chosen to form an alliance with Lalu Prasad Yadav clearly means that he has broken all his ties with his former ally.
Nitish Bhau (brother) has broken his association with the Bharatiya Janata Party that he had got into, five years ago. Even at this age, Nitish Kumar’s desire to make and break alliances so frequently, is astounding. He has already lost credibility and by doing this, he is sure to ruin it further. And to presume that he is not aware about its repercussions, is incorrect. John C Maxwell, a renowned American author and speaker, who has written many books primarily focusing on leadership, wrote – Credibility is a leader’s currency. With it, he or she is solvent; without it, he or she is bankrupt. How true is his observation; without credibility, a leader is indeed politically bankrupt. Many leaders in India have come to terms on this aspect, but still only for their political ambitions, selfishness and stubbornness, they continue to repeatedly commit betrayals. In terms of numbers, if we try to calculate the ‘highest common factor (HCF)’ on the credibility index of Nitish Kumar, Sharad Pawar and Uddhav Thackeray, it is sure to be ‘zero’.
In 1978, Sharad Pawar had broken away from the then Vasantdada Patil’s government and became the new chief minister of Maharashtra. Later he again became the chief minister of Maharashtra twice. Even at the Centre, he held two important portfolios – union defence minister and union agriculture minister. But despite all this, he grossly failed to regain his credibility. Pawar’s party, that enjoyed 15 consecutive years of power in the state from 1999 to 2014, never managed to win seats in double figures in the Lok Sabha elections held during this period. The 71 seats won by Pawar’s party in the Assembly elections in 2004 was the maximum he could win. Pawar never managed to come to power in Maharashtra on his own. Leaders like NT Rama Rao, Devi Lal, Chandrababu Naidu, Mamata Banerjee, Mayawati, Mulayam Singh Yadav, Jaganmohan Reddy, K. Chandrashekhar Rao had managed to become the chief ministers of their respective states on their own. But Pawar could never exercise his alchemy. This is because he could never gain credibility in the minds of the people. Instead, his image that reached the people was of a leader who could do anything to remain in power. And Uddhav Thackeray took recourse to Sharad Pawar. It may be recalled that the Shiv Sena supremo Balasaheb Thackeray, since 1985, always stood firm by the Hindutva and had also maintained his anti-Congress stand. And he never compromised with this stance ever in his entire lifetime. Also, he used to often criticise the foreign citizenship of Sonia Gandhi. In his blatant style he would criticise her saying – ‘is she in favour of Ram or Rome’. After 1990, Balasaheb Thackeray brought Sharad Pawar on his radar. Balasaheb was instrumental in bringing Shiv Sena – Bharatiya Janata Party government to power in the state in 1995 by staging a strong criticism against Sharad Pawar. Unfortunately, Uddhav Thackeray refused to abide by the Hindutva stance for his political ambitions of being the chief minister of Maharashtra. He thus, joined hands with the NCP-Congress by falsely declaring that the BJP leadership had promised him the post of the chief minister for two-and-a-half years. And during Uddhavrao’s chief ministership, Hindutva was repeatedly getting insulted by his alliance partners – the Congress and the NCP. But owing to his lust for power, Uddhavrao didn’t mind accepting the insult of Hindutva as well.
Nawab Malik had colluded with the Dawood gang and had grabbed properties worth crores as per charges against him. And today he is behind bars for these charges. As the chief minister, Uddhav Thackeray should have shown the courage to remove Malik from the cabinet. There are strong evidences to prove how Malik had helped Dawood gang to protect their properties. But still Uddhav Thackeray preferred to put his government to stake. People will also recollect how Balasaheb would condemn Dawood gang and his anti-national forces operational at that time. Uddhavrao, who claims to be Balasaheb’s heir, has time and again made sure that Shiv Sena’s Hindutva gets compromised.
The entire Samajwadi group has been infamous for changing alliances. Dr. Rammohan Lohiya had always voiced his strong opposition against the Congress, but his political heirs without hesitation joined hands with the Congress and enjoyed power at the Centre. They had also formed governments in many states with support from the Congress. Nitish Kumar is now carrying forward this untrustworthy legacy of the Samajwadi family. In 1996-97, with the support from Congress Inderkumar Gujral and Deve Gowda became the country’s Prime Ministers. Those who are 70 years of age and above will recollect how, Madhu Limaye, a senior socialist leader was against the Congress’ ideologies. In 1979, owing to Madhu Limaye’s insistence on dual membership, the Morarji Desai government had collapsed. Later, however, with the support of Indira Gandhi, many socialist leaders like Madhu Limaye and Raj Narayan compromised on their bitter opposition to the Congress and had supported Charan Singh to become the Prime Minister.
Lalu Prasad Yadav and Nitish Kumar had played a major role in bringing the dominant Janata Dal to power in Bihar during the 90s. Since Nitish Kumar could no longer bear the arbitrary rule of Lalu Prasad Yadav, he had founded the Samata Party with George Fernandes. This Samata Party later formed an alliance with the Bharatiya Janata Party against Lalu Prasad. Samata Party, which later became the Janata Dal (United), and the Bharatiya Janata Party fought continuously for 12 to 13 years against the ‘Jungle Raaj’ of Lalu Prasad. The BJP and the Janata Dal (U) succeeded in ousting Lalu Prasad Yadav’s family from power in 2005.
In 2013, the Bharatiya Janata Party announced Narendra Modi as its prime ministerial candidate for the 2014 Lok Sabha elections. Nitish Kumar broke ties with the BJP over this issue. Even at that time Nitish Kumar did not hesitate to accept Lalu Prasad’s support to retain power. ‘Jungle Raj’ under the aegis of Lalu Prasad continued in Bihar. Nitish Kumar conveniently forgot his earlier stance against Lalu Prasad.
Despite the Lalu-Nitish alliance, the Bharatiya Janata Party-led Democratic Alliance had got outstanding success in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections by bagging 31 seats in Bihar. At that time, Nitish Kumar was able to win only two Lok Sabha seats. Later, the Nitish-Lalu alliance won the 2015 Assembly elections. Despite wining more seats, Lalu Prasad handed over the chief ministerial position to Nitish Kumar. Again in 2017, Nitish Kumar once again bid farewell to Lalu Prasad and joined hands with the Bharatiya Janata Party. During the 2020 Assembly elections, BJP got 74 seats while Nitish Kumar’s Janata Dal (U) bagged only 43 seats. Still, the national leadership of the Bharatiya Janata Party decided to give the chief ministership to Nitish Kumar only.
Now even after the BJP central leadership exhibiting such magnanimity, Nitish Kumar again decided to break ties with the BJP, once again to join Lalu’s camp. Lalu’s son Tejashwi had once criticised Nitish saying ‘Aisa ek bhi nahi saga, jisko Nitishne na thuga’ (There isn’t a single akin who has not been cheated by Nitish). But still he agreed to once again form an alliance with Nitish. Of course, considering the past experiences, it is for sure that Lalu Prasad and his family will not completely rely on Nitish Kumar. Although, Lalu Prasad has extended support to Nitish Kumar, it is only to ensure that the crucial matters concerning him, his family and his followers do not reach the different agencies for investigations. Once they get what they want, Nitish Kumar is sure to be doomed.
Amidst all this jumping in and out of the parties, the Bharatiya Janata Party’s uniqueness stands out. In 1979, when the issue of dual membership was raised by the Samajwadi group, the Jana Sangh of the time had refused to sever ties with the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh. In 1990, the BJP leadership withdrew its support to the VP Singh government over the Ram Mandir issue. In 1998, because the party refused to compromise only to retain power, Atalji’s government had collapsed by simply one vote. After coming to power in 2014, the Modi government fulfilled its promises – construction of Ram Mandir and scrapping of Article 370 of the Constitution. The BJP leadership has always retained its credibility over the years; irrespective whether they are in power or no, they did not and will never compromise with their ideologies.
Views expressed above are the author’s own.
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