Nitish Kumar: Indian politics' trapeze artist

Amalendu Upadhyaya
Posted By -

By Justice Markandey Katju

Nitish Kumar

'''Jeevan ka safar hai toolaani

Yaan ikraani hai naadaani

Jo shahsawaar maahir hain

Woh raah badalte rehte hain ''

(Life' journey is long, sticking to one path is immaturity

The expert horse riders, keep changing their routes)

Most Indian politicians of today follow the above dictum.

They have no principles-- unless pursuit of power and pelf can itself be described as a dictum. They keep changing their.parties and routes as regularly as a female Casanova changes her paramours..

We have seen many Indian politicians of this breed, including former Prime Minister Charan Singh, who changed 3 parties in 3 days, and former Chief Minister of Haryana Bhajan Lal, who took almost all the MLAs of his Janta Dal and joined the Congress in 1980 after Indira Gandhi''s spectacular win in the parliamentary elections that year..

The latest in this fold of trapeze artists is Bihar's Chief Minister Nitish Kumar. (born 1951).

He reminds one of the French politician Talleyrand ( 1754-1838 ) who kept switching sides like a weathercock, having an uncanny nose for sniffing which side the political wind was blowing.

Having been a Bishop in the reign of King Louis 16, he strongly supported the French Revolution of 1789. After the fall of Robespierre in 1794, he became the Foreign Minister in the French 1797. But he conspired against the Directory, and helped in the installation of the Consulate in 1799, headed by Napoleon, and was again made the French Foreign Minister.

Seeing the decline of Napoleon after the disastrous war against Russia in 1812, he secretly held negotiations with Czar Alexander 1 of Russia, and helped the Bourbon Louis 18 come back to power in 1818, and was suitably rewarded. But when the Bourbons became unpopular, he supported the July Revolution of 1830 which brought the Orleanist King Louis Philippe to power.

Nitish Kumar''s political career bears a striking resemblance.

Having started as a socialist in his youth, he joined the movement of Jai Prakash Narain, and was elected as an MLA of the Janta Party in 1985.

He then joined the Samata Party, which was in the BJP-led NDA, and was elected as an MP on its ticket in 1996, and became a Union Minister in the Atal Bihari Vajpayee cabinet.

His party merged into the JDU in 2003, and he became its leader. In 2005.

In the 2005 Bihar state legislative assembly elections, the NDA, of which JDU was a part, won a majority, and Nitish Kumar became the Chief Minister in a BJP-JDU coalition. The coalition was re-elected in 2010, Nitish Kumar remaining the CM.

However, he broke the coalition with the BJP in 2013, and formed the Mahagathbandhan, a coalition of Lalu Yadav''s RJD, the JDU, and the Congress, which joined the UPA.. He remained the CM

In 2015, the Mahagathbandhan again won the assembly elections, but in 2017 Nitish and his party, the JDU, broke with the RJD and returned to the BJP-led NDA, which won the elections in 2020, and he remained the CM.

In August 2022, Nitish Kumar broke again with the NDA and again joined the Mahagathbandhan and the UPA, again remaining the CM.

Now all indications are that very soon he will break with the UPA and Mahagathbandhan yet again, and ally himself with the BJP and NDA (and of course remain the CM).

Maan gaye maharaj. Aap to Talleyrand ke baap nikle !

(Justice Katju is a retired judge of the Supreme Court of India. These are his personal views.)

Post a Comment


Post a Comment (0)