Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) just concluded its plenary session in Patna, Bihar. The two-day meet was held in Patna to signal start of winning campaign for Bihar Legislative Assembly election for which is to be held soon. Nitish Kumar, a senior leader of Janata Dal (United) or JD(U) in short, is the current Chief Minister in Bihar. JD(U) and BJP the two parties together have majority in Bihar Legislative Assembly - and BJP is the junior partner.
The purpose for the new BJP Executive Committee to hold party session in Patna should be commended by Biharis. Having read the news items related to this BJP meet two disturbing points come to my mind.
The first is the anger reported to have been shown by Nitish Kumar after seeing advertisements in vernacular papers which showed appreciation for Gujarat's help and assistance to Kosi river flood victims in 2008 and the advertisements displayed a picture of Narendra Modi and Nitish Kumar together. The advertisement was a display of appreciation by some Biharis living in Gujarat and leading successful life. If Nitish showed his anger to please the Muslim voters of Bihar in view of the Assembly election soon to be held, I believe he is sadly mistaken to undermine intelligence of Bihari Muslims. There is no secret that Muslims in Bihar and every where in India have been exploited by Congress Party and others including Rashtriya Janata Party of Lalu Yadav to be in power for their own benefits and benefit of their relatives and close friends. Bihari Muslims are not that narrow hearted and short sighted that by seeing Nitish with Narendra Modi in a picture will turn away from a good administration in Bihar provided by JD(U) and BJP combine. Nitish has to run on his record and not whether there is picture of his with Narendra Modi. Every one knows Narendra Modi is a senior leader of Bhartiya Janata Party and is Chief Minister of a very thriving and prosperous state, Gujarat. Whether some like his politics or not he as a successful Chief Minister and a senior leader of BJP can not be ignored. What the Biharis Muslims should ignore is Nitish tantrums and see through it that it is not Narendra Modi's picture with Nitish which is going to influence their decision to vote for JD (U) and BJP combine in the upcoming election. What is going to influence the decision to vote is the cleanliness of JD(U) and BJP administration in Bihar and measures which have been taken to give uplift to the economic conditions of Biharis in general and Muslims in particular. A question is to be asked to Nitish Kumar if he feels that he has done a good job as Chief Minister of Bihar. If he has then he will definitely win regardless his picture shown with Narendra Modi.
Nitish went out of control after seeing this picture and canceled the planned dinner with BJP leaders and also threatened to sue the advertisement agency which happens to be Expression Advertisement. The report says that there was a police raid at the office of the agency and its director, Arvindam Guha, was interrogated by the police for three hours. In this connection we must ask Nitish Kumar another question. Has he tried to ascertain that the police raid at the Expression Advertisement Agency was legal and civil rights of Arvindam Guha has not been violated? If it has then Nitish administration is no better than previous Congress administrations and RJD administrations when Lalu Yadav and Rabri Devi ruled Bihar as if the state was their fiefdom.
Another point which is disturbing coming out of the BJP meet reports that BJP decided to corner senior leaders Yashwant Sinha, B. C. Khanduri, Arun Shourie and Hema Malini and these leaders were not invited in the meeting. It appears BJP has finally decided not to tolerate disagreement and in this case, any one disagreeing with Mr. Advani is no body in the BJP. It is a sad story considering that much of the political success achieved by BJP can be attributed to the great work done by Advani. One would only hope that BJP recognizes its folly and widens its tent to accommodate the four above named leaders as well as Jaswant Singh, Uma Bharti and others. Dissension should be healthy trend if it is not disruptive in nature. Party dictatorship will only harm BJP.
The views expressed by the author are personal.