Source: The Hitavada      Date: 28 Jul 2017 11:13:25

THE nation will always remember the political masterstroke delivered so smartly by Bihar Chief Minister Mr. Nitish Kumar which saw the exit of Mr. Lalu Prasad Yadav and his Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) from the alliance that ruled the State Government and entry of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) into a new partnership. The late-night political drama apart, what the nation will remember ever is the insistence of Mr. Nitish Kumar on morality of the rulers. 

As the Lalu Prasad Yadav family started getting increasingly embroiled in various scandalous issues, Mr. Nitish Kumar insisted upon resignation of his Deputy Chief Minister Mr. Tejashwi Prasad Yadav. And when the young son of Mr. Lalu Prasad Yadav refused, Mr. Nitish Kumar stepped down, creating a political storm from whose vortex emerged a new equation that saw the BJP entering the arena as a ruling partner. The manner in which Mr. Nitish Kumar and Mr. Sushil Modi masterminded the coup shows their political acumen as well as mastery of strategic moves. The Bihar drama, thus, will be marked by its spiritual content and political oneupmanship of a rare kind.

The worst sufferer of this development is Mr. Lalu Prasad Yadav and his family and party, the RJD. They could never realise that Mr. Nitish Kumar of Janata Dal-United (JDU) would come up with such a response to the brazen refusal of Mr. Tejashwi Yadav to resign after getting embroiled in financial scandals and the subsequent raids by Enforcement Directorate (ED) and the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).

Many issues of another kind of political ethics may get raised by some quarters now that Mr. Nitish Kumar has been sworn in as Chief Minister once again. Yet, the very fact that Mr. Nitish Kumar did not indulge in deception or any clandestine activity, makes is clear that there was no breach of morals and ethics at any level. Whatever has happened in well within the confines of legitimate political action. It is obvious, thus, that Mr. Lalu Prasad Yadav stands outwitted totally.

Fundamentally, Mr. Nitish Kumar never belonged to the so-called mahagathbandhan formed by his party and the RJD and the Congress. Fundamentally, he belonged to the same side of political morality as did the BJP. Because he did not want to get stymied by the towering presence of Prime Minister Mr. Narendra Modi in national politics, Mr. Nitish Kumar tried to carve out an independent identity for himself. Yet, subsequent developments proved that he could no longer side with the corrupt, and chose the BJP to fulfill the requirement of numbers in the legislature. For its part, the BJP was just following its national agenda -- of building partnerships that would take the nation forward on a route free from corruption.

The new alliance in Bihar, thus, has all the trappings of a great developmental endeavour that would bring the dawn of a new era in the State that has been bogged down by a very corrupt social and political process for endless decades. Seen from this angle, it is not possible to treat the latest development in Bihar as just a political manipulation. Much to the contrary, this development is a marker of fresh effort to offer to the people of Bihar a corruption-free governance and prejudice-free bureaucracy. If the partners make special effort to sustain it beyond narrow political self-interests, then the new front led by Mr. Nitish Kumar and Mr. Sushil Modi will prove to be a model to be emulated by others in the political arena.

For, what this model suggests is something altogether different. It suggests that for the larger good, ideological bogeys need to be kept aside so that newer and clearer ideals emerge. This model, thus, shows how something lofty can emerge even from political games -- beyond petty goals and tunnel-vision.