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Experts slam Nitish for 'selective morality', say Oppn unity can work without him

Catch Team | Updated on: 27 July 2017, 22:28 IST
(Raj K Raj/Hindustan Times/Getty Images)

Nitish Kumar's move to break ranks with the RJD and the Congress in Bihar and go with the BJP has created a storm.

It has unnerved Opposition parties which were looking up to the Bihar leader as an important part of the anti-BJP front for the next Lok Sabha elections.

For the BJP, wresting yet another important state where the Congress was a partner in government, albeit a junior one, is yet another victory, bringing it another step closer to its dream of a 'Congress-mukt Bharat'.

Fresh mandate

Expectedly, Nitish has come under severe criticism for his move.

“It is plain opportunism, the way Nitish Kumar has deserted the alliance and chosen to form the government again with the BJP,” says Professor Ramesh Dixit, who retired from the Lucknow University. “He should have gone to the public and sought a fresh mandate.”

Dixit says he is intrigued by the way Nitish chose 'ethics and morality' as reasons for parting ways with the RJD.

“This selective morality is both funny and intriguing. After all, there are many in the BJP who are facing all kinds of charges, and continue to be a part of the Union Cabinet,” he says.

Dixit claims that the verdict in Bihar, which propelled the Grand Alliance to victory, was a vote against the BJP. “Lalu played a big role in it. It was not Nitish Kumar alone. Nitish should have gone to the public and said 'look, I abused the BJP and won the last time. Now, I want to align with them. Give me a fresh mandate'. Why did he not do that?” Dixit asks.

Lalu equally responsible

Shaibal Gupta, founder-director of the Asian Development Research Institute in Patna, is also intrigued by the way Nitish did not seek a fresh mandate. “He may have believed that the mandate was for five years, and he should complete the term,” he reasons.

Gupta holds Lalu Prasad Yadav of the RJD equally responsible for breaking the alliance. “Why did Lalu Yadav not make his son resign to save the alliance?” he asks.

Gupta says the way secular parties discount corruption when they claim to fight communalism is eroding their support base. “The constituency of these secular parties is constantly eroding. Be it Mulayam Singh in UP, or Lalu in Bihar, or the Congress party in general,” Gupta says.

“How do you defend those staggering allegations of corruption against members of your family?” Gupta asks, referring to Lalu's belligerence in defending former Deputy CM Tejashwi Yadav.

Prime Ministerial ambitions

With Nitish joining the NDA, which already has Prime Minister Narendra Modi as its clear leader, what happens to his ambitions of being Prime Minister?

Dixit thinks Nitish realised that he would be limited to Bihar, and that made him choose this path.

Gupta agrees. “That agenda is gone,” he says, explaining how in the NDA, there is no space for his national ambitions.

What happens to Oppn unity?

Will the idea of Opposition unity survive without Nitish Kumar?

“The anger against the ruling BJP is rising. If not Nitish, some other formation will come about,” says Dixit.

“Nitish Kumar should be under no illusion. There are enough leaders like Lalu, Mayawati, Akhilesh Yadav and Mamata Banerjee,” he says, explaining how it is good that the Grand Alliance broke much before the crucial 2019 Lok Sabha elections.

First published: 27 July 2017, 22:28 IST