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Bihar – Nitish Kumar adopts the Lalu model

Nitish Kumar as chief minister of Bihar earned appreciation for correcting many of the misdeeds of his predecessor Lalu Prasad’s RJD government. His focus on law and order and administration won him well-deserved kudos. His coalition government, with BJP, recorded all round growth and took Bihar among the fast growing states. He brought in well-known ex-bureaucrats like N K Singh and Pawan Kumar Varma as advisors; this helped especially to project the state through the national television medium.

However, breaking the alliance with BJP and his decision to fight elections on his own proved to be disastrous. BJP, joining hands with LJP’s Ram Vilas Paswan, won 31 out of 40 seats. His JDU could win only 2 seats. Kumar promptly resigned as chief minister. With elections to the state due later this year he plans to bring together the JDU, RJD and the Congress ‘all secular’ and opposed to the BJP. Communal and caste polarisation would again be attempted; after all, it was this formula that had worked in winning elections all along but failed in the 2014 elections fought on the development plank.

Kumar has adopted the same practice that his bête noire Lalu Prasad did in handing the baton of CM to the little known Jitan Ram Manjhi, a representative of the Maha Dalit caste. Kumar has commanded Manjhi to keep the seat warm for him to re-occupy after winning the state elections.

Remember Lalu Prasad, after forced to step down as chief minister on the fodder scam, anointed his wife Rabri Devi as chief minister? How the husband-wife team managed to keep Bihar so backward!


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