With combative BJP as ally, Nitish in a catch-22 situation

With combative BJP as ally, Nitish in a catch-22 situation

It's merely around eight months since he dumped the grand alliance charging the top RJD leadership with corruption. But Chief Minister Nitish Kumar now appears to be feeling suffocated in the company of his new combative ally - the BJP.

Known to enforce the rule of law and establish good governance in his earlier stints as CM, Nitish never looked so helpless and rudderless in the last 13 years since he donned the mantle of chief-ministership in 2005.

In the last fortnight, sporadic incidents of communal flare-ups were reported from seven out of 38 districts. And it took the Bihar police 15 days to arrest Arijit Shashwat, son of senior BJP leader and Union Minister Ashwini Choubey, on Saturday midnight.

Choubey, a Minister of State for Health, had termed the FIR against his son as "raddi ka tukda" (waste paper), while his son (found brandishing sword during Ramnavmi in Patna) openly dared the police to arrest him.

Now, contrast this scene with the previous Nitish regime (with the support of RJD and Congress). The RJD MLA Raj Ballabh Yadav, charged with rape, was soon arrested. So was Md Shahabuddin, former RJD MP. Even Rocky Yadav, son of JD (U) MLC Manorma Devi, was jailed in a road rage case. But with the same Nitish at the helm (with BJP's crutches), the police found it difficult to arrest Choubey's son against whom an FIR was lodged in Bhagalpur on March 17 for taking out procession without police permission and raising provocative slogans which led to stone-pelting incidents causing injuries even to cops.

"Nitish has been trapped. He is in a catch-22 situation. Given the animosity with Lalu, he can't dream of returning to the RJD fold. Nor is he feeling comfortable in the company of a combative BJP, which is hell-bent on increasing its base," said former Rajya Sabha member Shivanand Tiwary explaining about the spurt in communal violence in seven districts of Bihar.

"We had warned Nitish Chacha (Uncle) when RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat visited Bihar for ten days in February. Is it a coincidence that communal violence incidents began in Bihar barely a fortnight after Bhagwat left the state? A probe should be conducted how thousands of swords were purchased and brandished during Ramnavmi procession," said former Deputy Chief Minister Tejashwi Yadav.

Tejashwi, who is realigning all those who are inimical to the BJP, however, said, "Barring Nitish Chacha and Ram Vilas Paswan, all are welcome to join the grand alliance."

 

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