Pitted against his jocular archrival and one of the most successful railway ministers so far, Lalu Prasad Yadav, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar once seemed a bit more mature and established.
But his purposeful faux passes, resembling the tantrums of an angry cat left in the lurch, born out of frustration, mark a new low in his maturity.
At least his on-the-fly reaction over an advertisement showing him and Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi holding each other’s hand afloat and some figures regarding the help provided to Bihar during a natural disaster suggest so.
Few had smelled a rat the day a full page advertisement appeared in local dailies but none imagined the mistake would drive things awry and leave Bihar’s reformist Chief Minister open to hauling over the coals.
That a mature head of a state would be compelled, regardless of the stake involved, to breach boundaries of moral etiquette was unimagined. Unbelievable still was the fact that Mr. Kumar would go as far as canceling the dinner thrown in honor of visiting dignitaries.
That a host Chief Minister would humiliate a visiting head of a state, who enjoys an exemplary image for his maturity, patience, propriety among other diplomatic features, over an ‘uncivilized’ and ‘inappropriate’ publicity in a country which claims its ‘Guests are God’ was narrow-minded, inappropriate, immature and unwarranted.
That a humiliated Modi, known for his extraordinary oratory, did not give a tit for tat and went on to salute the people of Bihar ––– haunted and humiliated everywhere they go –– was an archetypal diplomacy found only in a mature men. That Narendra Modi did not try to humiliate Bihar was a humiliation in a sense and it has left Biharis morally haunted.
Apart from the unrequited footsie there were other things in the controversial advertisement too. In brief it highlighted the conditions of Muslims in a state whose Chief Minister, the world claims, hates Muslims.
Muslims in the urban areas of Gujarat earn an average Rs 875 per month which is more than the national average of Rs 804. In contrast, it is Rs 662 in UP, Rs 748 in West Bengal, Rs 811 in Punjab, Rs 803 in Andhra Pradesh and Rs 837 in Karnataka. The story is equally flamboyant in rural Gujarat.
The report of Sachar Committee clearly shows that the Muslims of Gujarat are progressing well in the field of education among others. They are provided ample opportunities and they are well cared for. These facts dispel myths that Muslims are being discriminated against or being denied equal opportunity in Gujarat.
Notwithstanding if he was miffed and worried that his footsie with Modi would anyway affect his appeal to the minority community in Bihar he should have quietly gone ahead with legal action against the publishers of the advertisement. What was the need to humiliate his senior leaders who have always been profuse in hailing Nitish Kumar and the resurgent Bihar under his leadership? Even when humiliated Narendra Modi hailed the progress that a resilient Bihar is making.
Even though the recent controversy was a closed chapter Nitish Kumar returned the money provided by the Government of Gujarat during 2008 Kosi disaster, giving the entire controversy a more morbid direction.
Ophthalmologically speaking Nitish Kumar’s tantrums could have chances to boomerang. People want to know why his inability to invite any significant investment in Bihar during his about five-year term does not invite his ire.
He is being widely criticized for his deliberate misconduct. Kumar has returned the money in a fit of fury. However he would have been right, regardless of everything, had he made the Kosi Embankment sturdier against the attacks of waters from Nepal.
Why is he not angry over massive migration from Bihar? People want to know why people defecating in the open –– still a large number of people defecate in the open in Bihar which plays a major role in making Biharis sick –– do not invite the Chief Minister’s ire of the same magnitude.
Running on the waves of the newly surfaced differences within the ruling coalition, his bete-noires would leave no stone unturned to topple the Nitish Government in this election.
The controversy which he has created and embroiled others in, is likely to affect his appeal not only among Muslims but among other community cross sections across the state. Some political experts claim Nitish Kumar’s appeal would receive a major punch if the JD (U) coalition with the BJP suffers in any way before the State Assembly election scheduled towards the end of this year.
If the reformist Chief Minister does not redeem himself and losses the doggedly contested Assembly polls, though this is most unlikely, his supporters would regard him not as a revered reformist but as a rugged recusant who thrives upon media favor and hype.
The views expressed by the author are personal.
It was a prefect reply to Mr. Nitish Kumar dramtic/pathatic act of disrespect of all such senior leaders or state heads, I am totally agree with your thought at least he should not cancel the dinner night, it will potrey a total negative image of Bihar/Biharis desrespect of guest.
He should open n grow up.....