Nitish in silent mode when even BJP leaders have started speaking against demonetization


Soroor Ahmed

When voices from within the BJP and RSS have started emerging against demonetization and GST––at least the manner in which they were implemented––one person who has not opened his mouth is the Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar.

Curiously, he is tightlipped over the issue even after RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat, during his Vijay Dakshmi speech, expressed reservation over the state of economy.

Ironically, Nitish was the first leader from the opposition camp then––now he is very much in the NDA––who welcomed Narendra Modi’s November 8, 2016 demonetization within hours after the announcement. Many political pundits started seeing it as the first move to tilt towards the BJP, whereas many others just called it as another instance of Nitish Kumar’s double-speak.

Strangely, throughout those early weeks JD(U)’ss former president Sharad Yadav, kept opposing note ban both within the Rajya Sabha and outside. Once he had a verbal duel with finance minister Arun Jaitley in the House.

Less than nine months later Nitish––notwithstanding knowing the negative impact of note ban––broke rank not only with Lalu Prasad’s RJD and Congress, but also with Sharad Yadav. He gleefully embraced the same Narendra Modi, whom he criticised and politically abused for three years––to become the CM again.

When the former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and other opposition leaders flayed note ban and predicted fall in the growth rate by at least two months there was no dearth of people in the BJP and the media who ridiculed them. However, even then there were some within the Sangh Parivar, who in private were alarmed by the way things were drifting. But they were all silenced by the unexpected landslide victory of the BJP in UP and Uttarakhand.

Nitish Kumar is known for making several errors of judgement. He deserted the BJP in 2013 when there was no threat to him from the saffron party. After Lok Sabha election humiliation in 2014 he hand picked Jitan Ram Manjhi and made him CM. When the latter started acting independently, Nitish first got him criticized from close aides and then kicked him out.

He then suddenly went out of way to join hands with not one but two convicted former CMs––one of Bihar and other of Haryana.

In March 2015 he, as the CM of Bihar, went to meet Om Prakash Chautala in Tihar Jail in a vain bid to re-unite the parties of Janata Parivar. But he failed as Mulayam Singh Yadav backed off.

But his alliance with Lalu Prasad yielded him good result and the Grand Alliance won a thumping majority on November 8, 2015.

Exactly a year later he started showing signs of displeasure and on July 27 this year––when apparently everything was going on well––he left Lalu and Congress.

This was the time when most political pundits had started predicting that the state of economy is not good and the BJP may have to pay.  But Nitish deemed it fit to jump on the saffron bandwagon once again.

Now that when even top RSS brass has started expressing concern neither Nitish nor his spokesmen are saying anything on the issue. They are not even raising the issue of corruption against Lalu Prasad and his family.

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