He was hailed as ‘Sushasan Babu’ or a good administrator not too long ago. But nothing seems to be working for him as lawlessness and a rush of deaths of children in Muzaffarpur expose his govt
Nitish Kumar is one of the greatest hoaxes going around in Indian politics. He turns ‘secular’ when it suits him. The very next day you might find him sleeping with the BJP without batting an eyelid. He even does not mind stabbing a political partner in the back if it suits him to survive in power. He did it with Laloo Prasad Yadav twice and even ditched Narendra Modi once. He is a survivor whose politics revolves around surviving in power.
When it suited Nitish to take on Laloo Prasad, he marketed himself as Susashan babu or a good administrator. Bihar was then sick and tired of the Laloo-Rabri misrule. It was a period when kidnappings and pot-holed roads of Bihar were making national headlines. The upper-caste establishment, both in Patna as well as Delhi, too, wanted to get rid of Laloo Prasad who had turned too big for his boots for the system.
Fodder scam came handy for the system to replace Laloo. Yet someone was needed to fill Laloo’s vacuum. Nitish was ready to play ball with anti-Laloo forces. But he needed a label to market himself that he did with media-support which sold him as Susashan babu. Nitish who had lambasted BJP for the Babri mosque demolition both inside and outside the Parliament jumped to form an alliance with saffron forces in Bihar to come to power in 2005. Ambitious Nitish was now Bihar chief minister taking on Laloo Prasad who was his one-time close friend as well as political comrade in arms.
It suited both the establishment and the media to project Nitish as an excellent administrator, rather as Bihari messaiah, who put Bihar back onto rails after Laloo’s mayhem in the state. Nitish, to be fair to him, did manage to improve Bihar roads. He also succeeded in putting down kidnappings that had instilled a sense of insecurity among Biharis during Laloo and Rabri Devi’s rule. Nitish Kumar was now hailed as the Susasan Babu not only in Patna but Delhi as well.
Nitish had smooth sailing both in Bihar and outside. He was happy with his alliance with the BJP in Bihar. But politics took a major shift with the rise of Narendra Modi in national politics in 2014. Modi took the country by storm and came to power with a comfortable majority to form the government in Delhi. It was the period when the Congress and its allies were down in the dumps. The Anna Hazare movement had destroyed the ‘secular’ camp’s credibility across the country.
Nitish now sensed a vacuum hitting the anti-Modi secular camp. He now started distancing himself from Modi and the BJP. Ambitious Nitish even started projecting himself as the ‘secular’ national alternative to Modi. He was now rubbing shoulders with the likes of Rahul Gandhi and Sita Ram Yechuri in Delhi while he had already tied up with one-time ‘corrupt’ Laloo to continue in power in Bihar.
But Modi being a much smarter political player than the likes of Nitish Kumar, the Prime Minister forced him to surrender to the BJP in Bihar and finally acknowledge Modi as a tall national leader. Of course, he ditched Laloo Yadav again. There was nothing strange about it as it comes naturally to him to ditch partners when they are down in the dump.
Political opportunism however comes with an expiry date. Because, as the saying goes, you can fool some people for some time but not all the people all the time. Nitish was neither a good administrator nor a principled politician ever. Look how the Bihar administration has crumbled with just one wave of Encephalitis that has turned Muzaffarpur into a killing field for poor children who are dying like rats.
Now even the media reports suggest that Muzaffarpur hospitals are a shame on modern health services. This breakdown of health services has not taken place overnight. It was all there when media marketed Nitish as Susahan Babu.
The only difference is that now Nitish has already served his utility of taking on Laloo and destroy him. Nitish neither has any vision to be a mass leader like Laloo Prasad Yadav nor does he seem to have much administrative skill.
He is essentially a rank opportunist who survives by switching sides whenever it suits him. But all shades of opportunists ultimately hit the dead end sooner or later. Nitish Kumar’s dead end seems to be nigh. Unfortunately, he may go down as Kusashan Babu rather than Sushasan Babu of Bihar