I come not to bury Nitish Kumar, but to praise him. He is, after all, an honourable man.
Just consider exactly how honourable the once and again Bihar Chief Minister is. He is a man of backbone, a man of steel, a man of unbendable principles. He stands against corruption firmly. It only took him two or so years to discover that his ally, Lalu Prasad's Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD), was burdened down by corruption allegations, and then he acted with all the swiftness of an outraged lion. Nobody could have expected him to do any different, after all. It is not as if such allegations could have been predicted in 2015: Kumar is far-sighted, but not clairvoyant.
And so he has, rightly, abandoned Prasad and the RJD and set up camp instead with Narendra Modi's Bharatiya Janata Party. Only a man of firm and unshakeable values would do such a thing - abandoning an ally of long standing to join up with a stranger on the basis of morality alone. Some have alleged that Kumar and the BJP have in fact been allies before - but since recorded history started in May 2014, there is no definitive proof for this claim. Even if Kumar has made a habit of moving back and forth between formations - well, what of it? Sometimes, unshakable standards require you to be communal, sometimes secular, sometimes corrupt, sometimes honest, sometimes Bihari, sometimes "national". Is that not exactly what unshakable standards mean?
And even so, it is to be recalled that Kumar is unquestionably a soldier against communalism. We are in possession of tweets to this effect. If it so happened that the BJP was secular prior to the induction of Narendra Modi as prime ministerial candidate, why would not this towering icon of secularism - i.e., Kumar - ally with it? And of course, it is now clear that Modi's BJP puts secularism first. This is far more obvious in 2017 than in, say, 2013. The past four years - free as they have been of such things as lynchings, monks-turned-CMs, and cow politics - show that Modi and Kumar share a single-minded focus on development and jobs.
The wisdom of the many who have claimed in the past that Kumar is a political colossus who acts on the basis of ideology and ethics alone is now being borne out. Why, India's greatest historian recently suggested that he should lead the Congress Party! It is clear that the Congress needs someone who knows never to compromise with either corruption or communalism at its head. Now that Kumar has joined forces with India's only remaining national party, I look forward to liberals greeting the advance of his progressive ideas through the country. I refer of course to the total prohibition of alcohol, which is the major - only? - initiative of his government over the past years.
Of course, it is pure coincidence that Kumar's JD(U) and the BJP together have a majority of one in the Bihar Assembly. Such things as arithmetic can have no bearing on Kumar's decisions, only his conscience does. True, if the two parties were perhaps a few seats short of a majority, Kumar's conscience might have advised him differently - but we mere imperfect mortals cannot hope to fully comprehend the rigid codes that drive men like Kumar.
So let us with all our hearts congratulate Kumar on taking the oath of office this morning - a truly unexpected sight! Who would have thought that his following where his conscience led would lead to his staying Chief Minister! It is true that he has said some things in the past about his new supremo, Narendra Modi, that were a little pointed. But those unfortunate statements were unquestionably a product of being deceived by Prasad, by the Congress, and by the sharp social-media professionals foisted on him by deceptive Delhi types.
Let us also congratulate Narendra Modi and Amit Shah; with their customary persuasion, through the force of their ideas, they have again won elections in a state that propagandists in the media and the Election Commission will have told you they lost. This adds Bihar to Goa, Manipur and others where the BJP's apparent loss in "elections" was demonstrated to be an illusion brought on by pseudo-secularism - an illusion swiftly corrected once the people's representatives met, conferred, and decided what they really cared about was wiping out the influence of money in politics, and therefore decided to join up with the BJP, which they know is working hard to wipe out the influence of anybody else's money in politics.
You can tell when men are chosen by destiny; for then, as with Shah and Modi, unrelated circumstances appear to organise themselves to assist them. After all, who could have expected that most of the states where the BJP wants are precisely the same states where central anti-corruption agencies would choose to focus their investigations? In a country like Modi's India, in which the bad old institutional decay of the Congress years are little more than a memory, such decisions are of course insulated from politics by three layers of saffron-dyed khadi. And if such investigations happen to uniformly assist the great cause of raising the BJP to power in every state capital in the land, that strange coincidence must be hailed for what it is: evidence of divine intervention.
In all this, you are no doubt looking for someone to blame. Well, searching too hard is foolish. After all, when in doubt, we know who is ultimately responsible for everything that goes wrong: the Congress. Simultaneously powerless and awesomely influential, it has no presence in Bihar, yet must be held responsible for the fracturing of an alliance between two Bihari politicians who detest each other. After all, when John and Paul quarrelled over the Beatles, everyone knew it was Ringo at fault, not Yoko.(Mihir Swarup Sharma is a fellow at the Observer Research Foundation.)Disclaimer: The opinions expressed within this article are the personal opinions of the author. The facts and opinions appearing in the article do not reflect the views of NDTV and NDTV does not assume any responsibility or liability for the same.
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