Union Minister and Begusarai MP Giriraj Singh blamed the Bihar government this week for its inept handling of the floods and added people could not enjoy their puja festivities. This comes after BJP leader Sanjay Paswan said that someone from the party should get the chief minister post after the election next year. At the Dussehra festivities presided by CM Nitish Kumar Tuesday, not a single BJP leader was in attendance.
ThePrint asks: Floods, Encephalitis & Muzaffarpur shelter home: Has Nitish Kumar become a burden for BJP?
No irritant between JD(U) and BJP in Bihar. It’s a media-created stir that has no basis
Nand Kishore Yadav
Road Construction Minister, Bihar & Former BJP Bihar President
The question of Nitish Kumar becoming a burden for the BJP does not arise at all because there is absolutely no such problem for the BJP. The Bihar government is sincerely working for the people of the state and their betterment.
The alliance between the JD(U) and the BJP has been formed to bring about development, and we have been working together on it. The incidents that have taken place, such as the recent floods or the encephalitis outbreak or the Muzaffarpur shelter home sexual assault case, are all unfortunate but were beyond our control. However, the BJP-JD(U) government is working together to minimise the damage caused, and ensure the well-being of the people of Bihar.
There is absolutely no irritant between the two parties, it is all just a media-created stir without any basis.
Trouble in BJP-JD(U) alliance, BJP’s no-show at Dussehra celebrations in Patna calculated move
National Vice President, RJD
There is definitely trouble in the alliance between Nitish Kumar’s JD(U) and the BJP in Bihar. This was evident from the fact that no BJP leader was present at the Dussehra celebrations presided over by Nitish Kumar at Patna’s Gandhi Maidan. The BJP’s no-show at the event was a calculated decision.
This raises larger questions about the manner in which the BJP has been behaving — from Union minister Giriraj Singh’s constant attacks at the JD(U) to some BJP leaders saying that someone from their party should now be made Bihar’s chief minister.
The floods in the state have ruined Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar’s ‘pro-development’ image. There was a time not too long ago when Nitish Kumar had said that he would start the Metro in Patna at the earliest. Contrast this to the criticism he is facing now –his urban development minister Suresh Sharma said municipal officers only listen to Kumar, and not to the minister in-charge.
All of this points to the nature of alliance between Nitish Kumar’s JD(U) and the BJP. There was a time when Nitish Kumar was a staunch critic of Narendra Modi and had vowed to work towards a “Sangh-mukt Bharat”. Despite these differences, he formed an alliance with the BJP mainly to stay in power. Narendra Modi, Amit Shah and Mohan Bhagwat have not forgotten all that Nitish Kumar has said against them, and I’m sure this will manifest in some or the other way in Bihar’s politics.
No one listens to Giriraj Singh or takes him seriously. Bihar’s JD(U)-BJP alliance going strong
JD(U) member & Minister of Information and Public Relations, Bihar
We need to understand that Bihar has seen encephalitis outbreaks for decades. The difficulty is that the root cause of the disease has not been successfully identified yet, so there’s no diagnosis either.
We took all precautionary care and did our best to control the encephalitis situation. It was essentially a calamity.
As for the rift between the BJP and JD(U) in Bihar, one needs to understand that no one listens to BJP Union minister Giriraj Singh, who has been speaking against Nitish Kumar. Neither is he the party president in Bihar nor the party spokesperson. We work closely with Sushil Kumar Modi, who is the deputy chief minister of Bihar.
On the water logging issue, Giriraj Singh is also blaming his own party leaders, so no one can take him seriously.
The alliance between the JD(U) and the BJP is going strong. We are currently busy working on our seven-commitments programme – Saat Nischaya – and controlling the unprecedented flood situation in the state.
We must also take into consideration the impact of climate change on natural calamities. This year Bihar has also seen more than 45 people die of the heatwave. So, we must also work towards addressing the impact of climate change and on our green cover.
Bihar needs new wave of leadership, and Nitish Kumar surely is counting his last few days in office
Assistant Professor, Patna University
Patna, along with more than 15 districts and 1,400 villages, is facing an unprecedented governance calamity. Although many in the government including CM Nitish Kumar, have termed the recent floods as a “natural calamity”, it does not qualify to be so.
If the city is not able to handle a continuous stream of rainfall for even a few hours, then the entire state machinery is to be blamed. It is not the floods, but the water from the sewage tanks that has entered our houses and we are compelled to live with the filth of it. The pumping stations were not operational and the Nitish Kumar government paid no heed to it.
The primary concern of Nitish Kumar is remaining in power by all means. He even had the audacity to compare the situation in Patna with that in Mumbai and parts of the US. This is indicative of his arrogance that has inadvertently come from him being the chief minister of Bihar for the last 15 years. The public will not be fooled anymore with the ghost of Lalu Yadav and the ‘Jungle Raj’ days.
A sizeable section of the BJP leadership in the state has rightly been asking for doing away with the alliance and going solo. Nitish Kumar was successful in manipulating the BJP in the 2019 Lok Sabha election and rode on Modi wave that led to the victory of 16 MPs in his party. He must not live in this fallacy anymore. Bihar needs a new wave of leadership with vision and imagination, and Nitish Kumar surely is counting his last few days in office.
Perfect opportunity for BJP to offload Nitish Kumar and claim CM post
Professor, Patna University
It seems like the two incidents that took place in Muzaffarpur — the encephalitis outbreak and the shelter home case — along with waterlogging in Patna during the floods have hurt Nitish Kumar’s image and exposed his government’s claim of ‘sushasan’ or good governance. He is no longer the ‘Sushasan Babu’.
It will be difficult for the BJP to convince people that it has no share in the misgovernance. After all, it is also a part of the government in Bihar.
However, this is the perfect opportunity for the BJP to offload Nitish Kumar and come to the forefront by claiming the chief minister’s post in case the alliance continues. The recent events only make it easier for the BJP to do so.
Currently, the BJP is at the peak of its popularity and enjoys acceptance among people. This is the perfect opportunity for the party to take the lead. The BJP feels that it has been playing second fiddle to the JD(U) for a long time in Bihar. It wants to now play the big brother in the alliance, like it has been able to do in Maharashtra.
By Revathi Krishnan, journalist at ThePrint