The visible ire of Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar during his Independence Day speech at Gandhi Maidan towards ‘tweets of somebody’ highlights the vulnerability of NDA’s ‘15 years Vs 15 years’ electoral prank for 2020 assembly election.
NDA has decided to once again rely on its tested electoral strategy of reminding voters about the previous fifteen years Lalu-Rabri rule. However, this is probably the first instance that the Nitish Kumar government’s own fifteen years rule has come under severe scrutiny even by Janta Dal United’s own ally.
This has perhaps disturbed the Chief Minister which prompted him to attack the leader of opposition in legislative assembly Tejashwi Yadav over his unrestrained tweets targeting the government, though without mentioning the RJD leader’s name.
Nitish said that I have instructed the officials to tell youths how the people used to say that in Bihar roads were in Potholes and not the potholes in the road during Lalu-Rabri rule.
However, the special reference of youths by the CM suggest that ruling dispensation think that it’s the younger lot who had not faced the ‘Jungle Raj’ are falling prey to the RJD leader tweets. Nevertheless, the ground reality is that people cutting across ages and backgrounds, many of them even hard core NDA supporters are quite vocal against the government.
Moreover, ‘15 years Vs 15 years’ comparison does not consider the ever increasing aspiration of the people of state. Most of the work that the Nitish Kumar government claimed to have done is related to basic infrastructure, such as roads, electricity, public institution buildings etc.
Convincing voters this time on these ‘developments’ prank would be very difficult unless some clear road map of the future ahead is presented. The recent crises have triggered a lot of debate among people about the abysmal state of health system, lack of job opportunities and declining standards of education. The last two being primarily responsible of ever increasing migration from state evoke passions among people.
On the other hand, the inept handling of migrant crisis and the scenes of chaos in government-run hospitals across the state amidst the first wave of Coronavirus pandemic exposed the claim of ‘turnaround in Bihar since Nitish came to power.’
These catastrophes came on top of abject failure of government machineries during last year’s Muzzaffarpur Acute Encephalitis Syndrome and Patna water logging. Curiously, the national electronic media showed rare zeal to pursue these events and subsequently gave adequate coverage to them.
What is more problematic this time with NDA is that its own ally Lok Janshakti Party is echoing and even magnifying the opposition charges on the government. LJP president Chirag Paswan has been highly critical of CM Nitish Kumar and consistently questioning the claim of development under his rule.
Unlike in the previous alliance, BJP leaders too are not restraining them in targeting the Chief Minister. For example, during the peak of migrant crisis BJP’s MP and state unit president Sanjay Jaiswal had advised the state government to ‘take lessons from Uttar Pradesh’ to manage the situation better.
He and other BJP leaders had not left any stone unturned to fix the accountability of last year Patna water logging on the Chief Minister. This is in spite of the fact that saffron party leaders are holding both parliamentary and assembly seats of the worst affected localities of the state capital for decades, as well as Urban Development Minister too comes from BJP’s quota.
Subsequent failures of government machineries to cope up the crisis rocking the state in quick succession, along with targeting from LJP and BJP leaders have dealt a huge blow to the perception of ‘Nitish Kumar’s good governance’.
(Shams Khan is contributing editor at the TheNewsweb. Views are personal)