Tag Archives: Bihar

If I open my mouth many BJP people will be in trouble: Nitish Kumar


Bihar CM Nitish Kumar

Friends for 17 years within the NDA, the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Janata Dal (United) are fighting a bitter battle of words in Bihar following their unsavoury split over the Narendra Modi issue recently.

Faced with repeated attacks by the BJP leaders, Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Monday hit back by hurling a veiled warning to the leaders of his erstwhile saffron ally. He said that the BJP leaders would land in trouble if he opened his mouth. “If I speak up, many of them (BJP leaders) will be in trouble,” he said.

Nitish’s succinct remark followed blistering attack on him by the BJP leaders during the two-day visit of their party president Rajnath Singh to Bihar.

On the last day of his visit on Monday, Singh cautioned Nitish against falling in the trap of the Congress which raised the issue of Narendra Modi before every election. Referring to Nitish, he said that it was the duty of all anti-Congress forces to carry forward the ideology of Socialist leaders such as Ram Manohar Lohia and Jaya Prakash Narayan. “While many disciples have failed to carry forward their legacy, the BJP has done so by emerging as an alternative to the Congress,” he said.

In another jibe at the JD-U, Singh also said that some parties seemed to be afflicted with a disease called ‘secularitis’ and were trying to divide the country on secular and communal lines. “Our country must be saved from this disease,” he said.

He said that the Congress’ attack on Modi was part of its strategy. “More than 13,900 riots have taken place since Independence but the issue of no riot had been raised in the manner of Gujarat riot,” he stated.

Singh said that the Congress was doing it purposely to divert public attention from its failures.

Earlier, addressing a party workers’ conference on Sunday, Singh had warned Nitish that his party would be wiped out in the next polls if it aligned with the Congress.

The BJP leaders from Bihar also went hammer and tongs in hitting out at him. Former deputy chief minister Sushil Kumar Modi, once considered a close associate of Nitish, hit out at the Chief Minister for dismissing the 11 BJP ministers unceremoniously from the Cabinet. “The BJP and JD-U had worked together to rid Bihar of the ‘jungle raj’ but Nitish showed least sensitivity in sacking the 11 ministers,” he said. “He, in fact, dismissed Ashwini Chaube while he was fighting for his life in Kedarnath.”

Senior party leader Ravi Shankar Prasad wondered whether Nitish would go to receive Narendra Modi at Patna airport in case the latter became the prime minister.

Syed Shahnawaz Hussain that Nitish had taken least steps for the welfare of the minorties while he was the Union minister. “One does not become secular only by wearing a (topi) cap,” he said. “Topi is, after all, meant for prayers not for politics.”

The BJP leaders squarely blamed Nitish for the split and the electorate would teach him a lesson in the next elections.

What Modi wants his BJP team to deliver by 2014

What Modi wants his BJP team to deliver by 2014


by Jun 22, 2013

His staunch supporters in the BJP may be confident of a popular wave in his favour throwing the Congress out of power, but Narendra Modi, a quintessential organiser, is well mindful of the challenges that lie ahead and is already pushing party leaders to focus on various issues.

He may be riding high in surveys and may be the most talked about politician, but Modi knows winning the parliamentary elections requires sound strategy and organisational preparedness. Beyond rhetoric, the BJP so far hasn’t bothered with a coherent plan to defeat the Congress and the Gujarat Chief Minister has cautioned his colleagues not to be “overconfident”, and instead get down to some hard work.

A senior party leader told Firstpost that in the first strategy meet that Modi held with general secretaries earlier this week, there were two issues he focussed on.

The first issue was that the BJP was losing allies and it was important for the party to look for and engage prospective allies in all regions, no matter how big or small. Prospective allies could be AGP in Assam, INLAD in Haryana, TRS in the Telangana region of Andhra Pradesh and even possibly enticing Yeddyurappa back to the BJP or at least the NDA. The exit of Nitish Kumar and the JD(U) resulted in a psychological blow in the minds of any prospective allies which needs to be amended at the earliest, but isn’t easy presently.

Get me allies: Modi wants more allies for the BJP. Reuters

Get me allies: Modi wants more allies for the BJP. Reuters

The second issue was the party’s shrinking voter base in the country’s most populous state: Uttar Pradesh. The state presents a big challenge to the party and requires a focused strategy and hard work to reclaim support of the social groups that it once enjoyed. Bihar had been a bastion for the BJP and NDA for several years, but given the exit of the JD(U), an organizational regrouping was required. States like Orissa and Haryana, where the BJP once had a prominent presence when it had alliances with regional parties, were wiped out when the party went alone in last elections is also  matter of concern.

Modi, who just took over as the party’s campaign committee, told leaders that while the party may identify some pan-India issues to target the government on, the  internal dynamics and aspirations of each state was different. He pointed out that the party needed to have a seat-wise and state-wise strategy and asked the party’s leaders to start working on them.

For the BJP the states of Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Karnataka, Rajasthan and Orissa are key states where it has to make substantive gains if it had to dislodge Congress and emerge victorious. The party’s leader in Uttar Pradesh are optimistic and believe the current situation the state could allow the party to make significant gains, possibly doubling or tripling their tally since the last polls, as long as they had the right strategy and maintained a united front.

“Now since Modi has been projected as our leader, UP could well be the game changer for the BJP”, a senior BJP leader said.

According to the leader, there are three groups of voters in the state Modi could appeal to. For upper caste voters, Modi presents a perfect combination of Hindutva and strong administrative skills. Younger voters could also find appeal in his development oriented leadership. And among the lower castes, except the Yadvas, the psychological pride of electing a Prime Minister from among the OBC community could just evoke the right sentiments in favour of the BJP. In Bihar, former deputy chief minister Sushil Kumar Modi had already set the ball rolling by flaunting Modi’s OBC credentials.

The overt projection of Modi’s backward case is to project him as a combination of “Mandal” (the Mandal commission) and “Kamandal”(a term used to denote Hindutva), the two phenomena that changed political landscape of north India and possibly the nation in last two decades. In this context, his supporters are already toying with the idea of Modi contesting the next Parliamentary elections from UP, preferably from one of the urban seats, Lucknow, Allahabad or Kanpur. The BJP won 58 seats from UP in 1998, but since 1999 parliamentary elections the party’s tally has been on a continuous slide. Modi has his protégé Amit Shah posted as party’s in-charge of UP, and the former Gujarat deputy chief minister will soon begin his UP campaign.

His party believes that Modi’s new status has rattled his rivals, and they point to Nitish Kumar’s statement that no one could become leader of backward classes just because of being born into it. The BJP’s response to Nitish Kumar’s continuous attack on Modi has been varied. One section expressed its concern on the grounds that Modi would be targeted over the 2002 communal riots in Gujarat under his watch, and the fact that no single party might be able to come to power without varied alliances. However, another group in the party believes that after the elections the Modi-led BJP will have such a high seat tally that new allies would naturally gravitate towards the party.

A party leader, who was present in the strategy session with Modi, said the Gujarat Chief Minister was acutely aware that he had to substantially increase on the party’s vote percentage as well as is support base in  south and east India. In the last parliamentary elections the BJP’s vote share reduced to around 18.5 percent, as against Congress’s vote share of around 28.5 percent. The BJP got 116 seats and the Congress got 206. Though the Congress’s gain in vote share was only 2.5 per cent,  it had strong allies.

The BJP had around 26 percent of the votes when it got a high of 182 seats in 1998. It roughly retained that peak in 1999, but at that time it had solid allies in all parts of the country like the DMK, TDP, TMC, BJD JD(U) and there were a total of 24 allies. In Jharkhand and Karnataka the party was a united force. However, presently in both  states the party has since split down the middle.

The BJP now has to count on personal charisma of Modi, perhaps much more than it had to count on Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s when the veteran leader was at peak of his popularity. Modi supporters believe that their leader’s modern day charisma among the urban middle class and rural areas could match the popularity of Indira Gandhi. He may not have physically reached out to the hinterland or even all urban centres, but his reputation as a strong administrator had already reached every household. They are hopeful that a “non-functional corrupt Manmohan Singh regime” at the helm will give them a decisive edge when the electorate has to choose between Modi and Rahul Gandhi.

After Modiphobia, Congress now suffers from secularosis


By Ankit Grover on June 19, 2013

After Modiphobia, Congress now suffers from secularosisWhat does it take to prove the ‘secular credentials’ of a certain individual. Is secularism an absolute or a relative term? Is secularism decided by thoughts and actions, or is it certified by an overarching authority?

In the Indian political context at least, in both cases, the latter appears to be the case.

Most recently, the definition of secularism — subject to much revision — is defined by one man: Narendra Modi. Already, having identified him as the greatest threat to their fortress, the UPA has been doing all it can to supress the tidal wave of Modi coming at them, albeit with little success. BJP leaders have aptly termed this fear as ‘Modiphobia’.

The ruling party, devoid of any secular credentials itself, has been gleefully handing out certificates of secularism to those it deems fit. Especially to those who try and step up to Modi.

No sooner did Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar announce his party’s breakaway from the NDA, a certificate was hastily prepared by the PMO for the country’s newest secular leader. Instant headlines were made, and talks of a prospective partnership between ‘like-minded secular parties’ were aplenty. Once branded secular by the Congress, one is absolved of all his sins, and more importantly, is free to do business with the UPA.

But really — what gives the Congress any credibility to decide whether a leader/party is secular or communal? This question remains, pitifully, unanswered. Plainly and simply, the Congress sees itself as the self-proclaimed voice of secularism and has tried to posit itself as the ultimate authority. Its ‘impeccable’ reputation cannot possibly be tarnished, even after having overseen most of the the country’s deadliest riots since independence.

Secularism was one of the founding principles of the Indian state, but it has been shamefully and annoyingly exploited, politicised and misconstrued by the Congress; so much so that it has become a disease — secularosis.