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Is it the time for Nitish Kumar to pack up from 1 Aney Marg? by Vivekanand

Notwithstanding the sense of optimism prevailing on the surface in the JDU camp, there is an underlying sense of despondency brought about by the exit polls which give a clear verdict in favour of Tejaswi Yadav, a prospective occupant of 1 Aney Marg. Worryingly enough, if Chanakya Today’s exit poll prediction comes to be true, which unambiguously allocates JDU winning just 11 seats, and given the fact that it has already established its robust credibility, it would be the biggest debacle for the Sushashan Babu, for, despite all his orchestrated claims of having brought Bihar onto the trajectory of an upward mobility, the ground reality fails to inspire any confidence. No wonder if Nitish is handed out the resounding defeat as the exit poll predicts, it would be the ghosts of millions of Bihari migrant workers who will collectively come to haunt him tomorrow for their being treated so disdainfully by the chief minister that no politicians in the recent history ever did.

Has the political innings of the chief minister who gave direction to the Bihar’s polity for decades, come to an abrupt end, as the exit polls have come to predict, is the moot question that the common men and women of Bihar are purportedly asking themselves? Significantly, it was Nitish Kumar who was exulting when the Election Commission had announced the dates for the election, presuming that the divided house of opposition presented a little challenge for him. Coupled with the emasculated opposition hardly in a position to confront him , Nitish Kumar’s own invincible image was sufficient reason for all hubris that reflected in the attitude of Bihar’s chief minister and his coalition partner BJP when, relegating the genuine problems confronted by the people of Bihar—while Covid 19 engulfed them in its octopus like grip, the perennial flood problem enmeshed them as usual–but all these hardly deterred the chief minister from taking cognizance of the genuinie catastrophe that afflicted the benighted people of his state. However, his pivotal agenda was that, in the event of election being held, he will unequivocally return to power. Alas, Nitish would have reflected on the fact that there is a supreme power influencing the course of events where men, whatever the level of their intelligence or ability to foresee the things, inevitably reduced to pygmies. Paradoxically, while Nitish Kumar was gung ho on his impending victory at the hutings, that he intended the election to be held in time, in no condition to be postponed, Tejaswi Yadav and the Congress Party, sceptical and apprehensive of their surer rot, if election was held in time, even went to the Supreme Court to persude the apex court to postpone it in view of the natural calamity and Covid 19 hitting the people of the state terribly hard. Unequivocally then, even though masquerading their own vulnerability in the garb of the public interest, to getting the election postponed, Tejaswi Yadav and Congress Party had successfully projected themselves as pro- people, whereas Nitish and the BJP had purportedly proved themselves as the opportunists who, sensing their clear victory if the election was held quickly in time, were seeking its conduct while being condescending, if not disdainful, to the humongous woes of the people. This was the first victory of RJD and Congress combine in the eyes of the people, and the eviction of Nitish Kumar and the BJP from the hearts of the people of Bihar.

Nevertheless, neither Nitish Kumar nor BJP had foreseen any such propect where the situation would be exactly the opposite of what they had perceived. Further, BJP and even Nitish Kumar, had the Brhmashtra in their quiver: ‘Har Har Modi, ghar ghar Modi’ was already there to ensure them the victory, even if all their plans went topsy turvy. They believed that, with the entry of Narendra Modi, in campaigning for Bihar election, will change the overall mood of the people, even if far lesser mortals like Tejaswi Yadav may have successfully drawn the large gathering of crows in their public rallies. And rising to the occasion, Modi took the charge with his counter slogan: ‘Yuvraj, Jungle raj’, a clarion call to intimidate Biharis to comulsively veer around Nitish and BJP, even if they had nothing else to showcase. Narendra Modi knew that he had doled out the biggest injustice to the people of Bihar by forcing them to flee in millions from their adopted states, without any respite at sight. Added to this back breaking ordeal was the display of step motherly treatment of their very own chief minister who never tired in showcasing the Bihari Asmita, by celbrating Bihar Diwas, squandering crores of the public money for his own publicity stunt. Ironically, Nitish Kumar, who not too, in the distant past, had taken the pioneering initiative to forge a pan Bihari identity, by invoking ‘Han, Ham Bihari Hain’, had no compunction in closing the borders of the state for the unfortunate tens of thousands who, feeling all sorts of persecutions, were desperately seeking to come back to their homes. Unequivocally, Nitish Kumar had done a grave injustice to the millions of migrants during the botched lockdown plan, even though he tried to make up for the same by tending to them at the later stage. But, by then the maximum damage to his image was done.

The election of 2020 will go down in history as the one where both Nitish Kumar and Narendra Modi had used a single ammunition to inject dread in the hears of 14 crores of the people of Bihar by telling them: ‘ Either vote for us or invite the Jungle raj to return under the Yuvraj, indicating Tejaswi Yadav as the Yuvraj whose parents, decades ago, were indicted by the Patna High Court, for presiding over the Jungle raj. Ironically, if the Prime Minister took recourse to intimidating the people by dangling the prospect of Jungle raj to return, if Nitish Kumar was not voted to power, was the vindication of the fact that the NDA government, in the last five years, had simply failed to live up to the expectations of the people, had done no tangible work against which it might seek the people’s mandate. No wonder Modi and Nitish had only an abhorrent invocation to inject a dread in the people so that they would somehow be conviced to vote for them, even if they had drastically failed on all other fronts. But then Tejaswi had delivered a googly that became simply unplayable for both Modi and Nitish Kumar: announded 10 lacs jobs, which brought the real issue on the centre: What did Nitish do for the last five years when no tangible employment openings took place? Small wonder then all so-called braggadocio of Modi and Nitish simply failed to resonate with the milions of youths suffering from the chronic unemployment and corresponding rising of cost of living. Fair enough, Amit Shah’s absence from rallies where, if he were present, his cogent suggestion for the youths to take up ‘selling Pakodas’, would have been repelled with the youth of Bihar posing a counter question: Apna beta ko BCCI ka secretary aur dusron ka beta pakoda bikreta’, surely would have forced him to withdraw himself from the rallies, for Bihari youths are very prompt in throwing questions at their leaders.

Tomorrow, 10th of November, 2020, a red- lettered day for Bihar, as well as for the nation’s upcoming likeliest evolving scenario. With the victory of Tejaswi Yadav and Congress, has a surer recipe for the strengthening of India’s opposition. Also, it will vindicate the fact that Narendra Modi’s invincibility was a bubble that had inevitably burst. Significantly, it will bring a new sense of confidence in the unity of the opposition that Modi is beatable and, therefore, the divided and scattered opposition can be brought together on a single platform. In fact, Saryu Roy had already proved the fact in the last assembly election in 2019 in Jamshedpur that Narendra Modi was not invincible; however, the victory of Tejaswi will further lend credence to the fact that Modi and BJP are a bubble which have burst. On the other hand, if Nitish Kumar secures a victory, it will surely be a refrendum on him as well as that of Narendra Modi, for the latter had condcted no less than eighteen rallies across Bihar to seek votes for NDA under Nitish Kumar, in this election. Further, this election is a greater test for Tejaswi; in fact, it is an ordeal by fire for him to refute the allegations that his forming the government invites the Jungle Raj in Bihar to return. He has to wash the sins and stigma that attaches his parents, because the providence does not give more than one opportunity to anyone to prove or disporove the allegations levelled against him and his family. Tejaswi appears cautious on this front as he has already issued a warning to his supporters not to burst crackers or engage in acts of lawlessness in the wake of his party’s victory. He has also proven the fact that he is inclined towards moving beyond caste permutation and combination, when he had given tickets to all the castes, including Brahmins and Rajputs. Let him don the mantle of being the palanquin bearer of ‘Yes, I am Bihari’ tag, by being truly a Bihari who identifies himself as a Bihari, without any caste as this writer had so overwhelmingly wished in his pioneer book Yes, I am Bihari—‘Na, Main Brahmin , na Solkhan, na main forward hun na hi backward, main keval aur keval aek Bihari hun’. All said and done, tomorrow ie 10th of November will decide whether Nitish Kumar stays in 1 Ane Marg or he will have to bid good bye to it forever. On the other hand if else if Tejaswi wins, as he is most likely to, he is all the more welcome as the new resident of 1 Ane Marg.

Vivekanand Jha is an author of Yes, I am Bihari( Han, Main Bihari Hoon), the book which showcases the glory of being a Bihari at the global forum. He is also the author of an upcoming book The People’s leader.

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