How To Read Nitish Kumar’s Maun On Bihar Violence

Nitish Kumar, now serving his fifth time period as Chief Minister of Bihar, has stored a deliberate silence over the previous 4 days as Bihar burns and faces the primary brunt of the anti-Agnipath stir. The setting on fireplace of trains, whole railway stations, and the assaults on the properties, places of work and vehicles of leaders of the BJP, which is Nitish Kumar’s ally, has accelerated underlying tensions between the 2 companions.

Nitish Kumar, who earlier used to preen about his moniker “Sushasan babu” (good administrator) with an iron grip on the state’s forms had no phrases of comfort when the house of Renu Devi, Deputy Chief Minister from the BJP, was trashed. 4 days after the violence started after which quickly accelerated, Nitish Kumar has bafflingly issued no public enchantment asking demonstrators to desist from violence.

This has led to the BJP to posit a elementary concern – which aspect is Nitish Kumar batting for? Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who has at all times had an advanced relationship with Nitish Kumar, has made his opinion clear –  a stable vote of no-confidence, offering a complete of 10 BJP leaders in Bihar with large safety cowl from the Union authorities.

The intervention was prompted by SOS calls from the Bihar BJP to House Minister Amit Shah, who, together with BJP President JP Nadda, has been in shut contact with Sanjay Jaiswal, who leads the social gathering unit in Bihar and whose personal residence was vandalised. Sanjay Jaiswal has accused the Bihar administration of wilful negligence at Nitish Kumar’s behest. The Chief Minister’s social gathering has responded that it doesn’t require tutelage in governance.

Army aspirants have been protesting towards the ‘Agnipath’ scheme over job safety considerations on the finish of the four-year tour of obligation interval. The protest has led to widespread railway property harm.

Tons of of crores of railway property has been broken. Nitish Kumar has been the nation’s Railways Minister, and is aware of from intensive expertise that trains and tracks are a most well-liked website for violent protests, significantly in states like Bihar. But, he apparently did little to double down on safety at stations. For 3 days, as trains went down in flames, Nitish Kumar reportedly gave no clear instructions to his officers on learn how to tamp down the violence on cussed and steady show.

So what lies behind Nitish Kumar’s steadfast “maun” (silence)? I spoke to a number of leaders from his social gathering, the Janata Dal United or JDU, and two Bihar-cadre officers who’re near the Chief Minister. They had been unanimous that Nitish Kumar thinks the ‘Agnipath’ scheme is badly-drafted and fully ill-judged from the purpose of north India. By refusing to be essential of the violence, he’s signalling to the BJP that the scheme ought to be withdrawn.

A Bihar-cadre official mentioned, “Please perceive that Kumar is strolling a tightrope. He cannot endorse this scheme, which has been rejected by the younger males of north India. We in Bihar rely extra on authorities jobs than some other state within the nation. Does the BJP anticipate Nitish Kumar to have a good time indignant voters whereas the opposition in Bihar is squarely on the aspect of protests?”

A JDU chief I spoke to mentioned, “Nitish-ji is a seasoned administrator and is superb at drafting (laws); he feels the centre beneath Modi does no consultations and rams by way of poorly-drafted payments and schemes that are then roll backed (farm legal guidelines, Land Acquisition Act). The way in which the Agnipath (scheme) is being amended each day is proof that Modi leaps first and thinks later. Kumar misses his buddy, the late Arun Jaitley, who had some competence in drafting regulation and coverage.”

Not completely incidental is the truth that Nitish Kumar was spoiled and made a lot of by earlier BJP leaders. Each the PM and Amit Shah are curt with Kumar.


Bihar’s BJP chief Sanjay Jaiswal, whose house was vandalised by ‘Agnipath’ protesters, criticised the Nitish Kumar authorities over what he known as insufficient efforts to cease violent protests within the state.

Bihar has the second-highest variety of unemployed youth within the nation at 38.84 lakhs, in response to a report by the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy. Bihar, at 12.8 per cent of unemployment fee, is way larger than the nationwide fee of seven.7 per cent. Most of those younger individuals covet authorities jobs as non-public industrialisation barely exists in Bihar, contributing solely 19 per cent to the state GDP. Many factories have shut down throughout Nitish Kumar’s present tenure as Chief Minister. That is the genesis of Nitish Kumar’s opposition to the ‘Agnipath’ scheme which he thinks will likely be a voter repellent.

The PM has additionally publicly turned down Nitish Kumar’s oft-repeated demand of an distinctive financial bundle for Bihar. So, regardless of leap-frogging again in to the BJP’s arms in 2017 (after a bitter break of their alliance), Nitish Kumar has by no means discovered the candy spot with the PM and Amit Shah. Friction and public burns are par for the course. Nitish Kumar has mocked and criticised Amit Shah’s current remark that historical past can and ought to be rewritten. Nitish Kumar wished a caste census which the BJP opposed – so he concocted “census lite” by teaming up together with his Bihar opposition to announce that Bihar will in truth conduct a caste-counting train.

In current week, Nitish Kumar ensured RCP Singh from his social gathering needed to give up as central Minister for Metal after denying a Rajya Sabha seat to him. Kumar even took away his Patna bungalow. Singh’s crime? A Kumar confidante earlier, he has change into near the PM, apparently.

There’s speak that two days in the past, Nitish Kumar had a protracted dialog with senior Congress chief Kamal Nath, who urged him to go away the BJP.

Nitish Kumar has swayed away from the BJP after which returned to it as a result of paramount is remaining Chief Minister of Bihar. Cooperation is subservient to mutual benefit. The specter of a breach has allowed either side the ability of negotiations. That could be more practical than truly calling it quits.

(Swati Chaturvedi is an creator and a journalist who has labored with The Indian Specific, The Statesman and The Hindustan Instances.)

Disclaimer: These are the non-public opinions of the creator.


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