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Expose The Charade Of Nitish Kumar's 'Anti-Modi' Posturing

By Kavita Krishnan

17 April, 2013

Speaking at the JDU National Executive meeting recently, Nitish Kumar has once again repeated his veiled anti-Modi remarks, suggesting that Narendra Modi would be unacceptable as NDA's PM candidate. Nitish Kumar seems to have woken up a little late in the day to the fact that Narendra Modi is synonymous with a communal pogrom. Why didn't Nitish speak out against Narendra Modi in 2002, when the Gujarat massacre took place? Why did Nitish remain a Minister in the NDA Government at the Centre at that time?

Nitish Kumar conveniently claims that Vajpayee was a genuinely secular and inclusive leader, who upbraided Modi for failing to uphold Rajdharma in 2002. Can the country forget, though, that Vajpayee himself, following the Sangh-scripted Rajdharma, looked benignly on when the minorities of Gujarat were being massacred? Nitish Kumar, who remained hand-in-glove with the BJP, cannot shed the taint of the innocent blood spilt by the Modi Government in 2002. Claims of the NDA Government upholding 'Rajdharma' are nothing but a fig-leaf that fails to hide Vajpayee's and Nitish's shameless collusion in the Gujarat massacre.

For well over a decade, Nitish Kumar has been a staunch ally of the BJP, while Modi has been one of the most prominent icons of the same BJP. Nitish himself has appeared on public platforms in great camaraderie with Modi. Why, then, is Nitish shy of acknowledging the bond with Modi in Bihar? In Bihar, Nitish feels compelled to project an artificial divide between the BJP-NDA and Modi, to avoid being bracketed with communal forces. And therefore Nitish peddles the fiction that 'BJP is secular but Modi is communal.' Ironically, Nitish in his latest speech, implied that Advani would be more acceptable than Modi as an NDA candidate for PM! Advani's own record – he continues to be a key accused in the Babri Masjid demolition case – is conveniently forgotten by Nitish.

Nitish's anti-Modi posturing cannot wish away the fact that Nitish's Government has calculatedly allowed the feudal and communal forces and their most aggressive representative, the BJP, the most fertile grounds to flourish. When Nitish came to power, one of his first actions was to wind up the Amir Das Commission that was probing the links of BJP-JDU leaders to the Ranveer Sena, architect of several feudal-communal massacres in Bihar. In Forbesganj, a virulently communalised police force, patronised by BJP leaders, unleashed brutal atrocities and firing on poor Muslims resisting land grab.

Nitish's top police personnel looked on after the killing of Brahmeshwar Singh as Ranveer Sena supporters unleashed violence on Dalit students and indulged in arson and looting in Ara and Patna. Bihar's DGP justified the police inaction, stating that had Ranveer Sena supporters not been allowed to vent their anger, the violence might have spread across the State! In allowing Ranveer Sena violence a free run, was Nitish Kumar not following in the footsteps of Modi’s model of genocidal governance that Gujarat experienced in 2002?

Nitish Kumar backtracked on the question of land reforms in Bihar: again, proving his loyalty to the feudal forces who are the mainstay of the BJP-JDU mass base. Darbhanga has emerged as the new centre of minority witch-hunt in the country: with the Bihar CM silent on the arrest and torture of minority youth from the State on flimsy and fabricated charges of terror. In Nitish's Bihar, BJP's communal assertion has grown by leaps and bounds, unfettered by the Nitish Governmment.

Pro-Nitish ideologues have attempted to manufacture a difference between Nitish's and Modi's models of governance. In reality, there is much that both models have in common: both are darlings of the corporate world, both represent an aggressive feudal-communal and anti-poor agenda in the guise of 'development' and the 'asmita' (identity/pride) of the State they rule. Nitish attempted to mask his essential commitment to the feudal-communal forces with his 'mahadalit' and ' ati-pichhda’ (extremely backward castes) posturing; today, ironically, Modi is also tacitly projecting his 'EBC' identity as a foil for his communal brand image.

In Bihar, it is the CPI(ML) which has boldly resisted the growing BJP assertion and taken the communal-feudal agenda head on. Be it the assault on minorities at Forbesganj or Dalit students at Ara, the witch-hunt of minorities at Darbhanga or the question of land reforms, parties like the RJD and LJP have been marked by abject surrender and pandering to communal-feudal sentiment, while the CPI(ML) has been at the forefront of resistance. At this juncture, the Left's task must be to expose Nitish Kumar's hollowness of 'secular' posturing and Modi's 'development' mask alike, and spearhead a genuine resistance to communalism and pro-corporate policies.

If and when Nitish Kumar and the BJP will actually part ways is a matter of speculation. If they do, it will be due to pragmatic political calculations on the part of Nitish Kumar. Nitish Kumar is aware that real life has utterly exposed the bitter truth of his promised ‘development with justice’ – his rule has now become notorious for ‘injustice with loot’. He is therefore desperately seeking a new plank to pull the wool over the eyes of the people of Bihar – ‘special category state’ and ‘Narendra Modi’ are the new escape routes he is seeking to evade accountability on the promises of development and justice. We must not allow Nitish Kumar this ‘emergency exit’ and hold him accountable for all his acts of opportunism and betrayal.

Kavita Krishnan is National Secretary, All India Progressive Women’s Association, AIPWA; email: [email protected]







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