By Parag Amalnerkar
- Nitish Kumar’s interview to CNN IBN’s Bhupendra Chaubey yesterday only reinforces the larger assessment that Nitish Kumar continues to suffer from delusion and has little to counter the BJP or Modi. The credit of his insipid and fossilized responses should also go to Bhupendra Chaubey as he on occasions put not words but sentences in his mouth!
It is important to call out all that needs a rebuttal:
- “The BJP perhaps has something to do with Mulayam Yadav’s exit but BJP tactics won’t work as it does not have much presence in Bihar”: The BJP won 91 seats in the last assembly elections, only 24 less than the JD (U). Clearly delusion at work and not even citing the spectacular Lok Sabha performance of the BJP.
- “Development is a mask for the BJP, the real agenda is communalism to create space for themselves!”: Since 2002 all political opponents and agencies that ganged up to keep painting Modi and the BJP as communal have failed to make this failed tactic stick. State after state the Congress has vanished, the BJP has won repeat mandates in Gujarat, Rajasthan, Goa, Madhya Pradesh and fresh mandates in Haryana & Maharashtra not to mention the inroads in the Assam & Andaman Nicobar local body elections. Not sure who needs space and who needs communalism to create space, the BJP is the principle pole of Indian polity whereas JD (U)’s last & only bastion is Bihar! It is also pertinent to ask here: if communalism of the kind that Nitish and others attribute to Modi & the BJP makes the BJP win election after election, are we saying that the electorate is communal?
- While reams have been written on Gujarat’s stellar performance under Modi’s stewardship and it gets tiring to repeat it, but here it is one last time. 24×7 electricity, canal corridors covered with solar panels to prevent water loss, turnaround of sick PSU’s, leading GSDP and Agricultural productivity for over a decade is what Gujarat is all about and data speaks for itself. Some of Gujarat’s practices have been recognized by the U.N as best practices worthy of emulation. Now just how does this come across as a mask of development is unclear except that Nitish in his desperation believes the communal vs. secular argument is still relevant to India & Bihar?
- The attempt to keep alive the RSS chief’s comment on reservations in spite of clarifications from the RSS is playing to the caste galleries in Bihar! Nitish Kumar himself was one of the first politicians in Bihar to organize a caste-based Kurmi rally in early 1992.
A man is known by the company he keeps! Lalu & Gandhi’s…
- “Pulses prices are soaring and that is Modi’s failure”: yes, pulses prices soared but the government quickly intervened by invoking the price stabilization fund, so that handling charges, transportation charges and milling charges will be borne out of this fund. This already has had some effect on cooling down prices. Even though the government has imported 5,000 metric tons of dal, except for Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh, no other state has shown any willingness to lift the stock. Nitish can take a cue perhaps from these states and solve the problem instead of using it for political point scoring?
The last part of the interview was perhaps the most amusing which was a sage like prophecy stating “It is easy to form a Government but difficult for Modi to run the nation!” Now where did he acquire this self- proclaimed clairvoyant capabilities is a question but as they say none is as blind as one who will not see. The IMF has pegged India as the fastest growing economy @7.5%, the FDI inflows in 15 months have increased by 40%, Investments and concrete MOU’s have been inked to improve infrastructure in Maharashtra, Rajasthan with the help of Japan, Sweden. The Jan Dhan Yojana has provided banking access to more people in 15 months than in the last 40 years, a total of Rs. 21,586 crore has been disbursed under MUDRA so far benefiting over 33 lakh people and this will accelerate the prosperity of small and medium businesses (run by true Aam Aadmi’s). Now this is not running the nation?
Who would Nitish rather have running the nation? An alien who entered politics by virtue of marrying Rajiv Gandhi with no experience or for that matter even Rajiv Gandhi who had to leave his chosen profession of Flying after his Mother’s assassination?
As the nation has spoken through the Lok Sabha results of 2014, we want the Nation to be run by a person of proven capabilities and none better than Modi who won repeated mandates from a demanding Gujarati electorate for his transformation of Gujarat as the leading beacon of India’s performance. And isn’t this how careers are made? In cricket one performs well at the state level consistently to get called for the national team? In the corporate world as well, one performs at the regional level to grow into National leadership roles.
Clearly Nitish would rather have a person who has never held a bat ( Rahul Gandhi), forget playing cricket or the first CM to be convicted in the fodder scam and debarred from contesting elections attain leadership roles! As they say, a man is known by the company he keeps and Nitish Kumar has outdone himself on this front!
The fact of the matter is that Bihar’s development and governance has taken a toll post the split with the BJP and again numbers speak for those who are not conveniently blind ( media included):
- Bihar’s economy was growing at 15.5% in 2012-13 but dropped to 8.82% in 2013-14 post the split
- Bihar attracted investments of INR20000 Crore in 2012-13 which dropped to INR657Crore in 2014-15
- The fiscal deficit of Bihar is 26% of GDP against a norm of 3% of GDP.
- Communal riots have increased three fold
- Only 0.83 specialist doctors per million against a national average of 3.98%
Nitish Kumar would be well advised to do both a reality check and sanity check on where he stands and what has he done for Bihar. These election results may relegate him to political oblivion and even if they don’t, Modi and BJP are here to stay. It is his continued relevance to Bihar and India that is at stake.