By Dheeraj Kumar
Patna: Have Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and his Janata Dal (United) become redundant for the Bharatiya Janata Party? Should JD(U) leader KC Tyagi’s words be scrutinized more seriously when he said in an interview that the BJP had not even bothered to ask its National Democratic Alliance partner JD-U about the dilution of Article 370 in Parliament?
Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar led JD (U) is once again in the cross hairs of coalition politics as it is the only ally of NDA walking out of Rajya Sabha and also from Lok Sabha today during voting on Article 370 and Article 35 A in Jammu and Kashmir.
It is more than obvious that JD(U) of late does not fit well in the BJP’s scheme of things and actions too speak for themselves. The Janata Dal (United) did walk out of the Rajya Sabha where the bill to split the state into two Union Territories was passed on Monday. A day later, when the Bill to scrap Article 370 was passed in the Lok Sabha, the JD(U) had walked out yet again.
JD (U)`s principal general secretary K C Tyagi was very straight in his tough-talking: “We do not agree with such a decision, Nitish Kumar has decided not to support it. It is not part of NDA but of BJP. The BJP has not taken us in confidence, government has held no discussion with us.”
The relationship between BJP and JD (U) has been under scanner ever since JD (U) had refused to accept BJP`s offer of symbolic representation in Modi government. It only demonstrated JD (U)`s assertiveness to counter BJP`s growing image of being an invincible party after it trounced the combined strength of almost all opposition parties in the parliamentary election.
That the JD (U) is jittery over scrapping of Article 370 and Article 35 A is understandable as it does not want to lose its Muslim vote bank by supporting it. Similarly, last Tuesday, the party had staged a walked out of the Rajya Sabha when the triple talaq bill was put to vote.
JD (U) is hopeful of increasing its hold on Muslim voters when RJD is faced with various serious challenges. RJD chief Lalu Prasad`s incarceration following his conviction in fodder scam is the most formidable challenge before the party but the disinterest in party affairs shown by Tejaswi Yadav post Lok Sabha election is also not less baffling for the party.
JD (U) would like to exploit the situation to its advantage if it has really made up its mind not to return grand alliance as Nitish might consider dicey for his party particularly when RJD proved a tough nut to crack after he had allied with Lalu`s party to form grand alliance government in the state.
Interestingly, former state JD (U) spokesperson Dr Ajay Alok appealed party president and chief minister Kumar to re-consider its stand on Article 370. He said respect of sentiments of people of country, Bihar, Jammu and Kashmir and Laddakh was supreme. Any decision should be taken by keeping people`s sentiments in focus, he added.
But if ‘Nitish means business’ this time too, he would take the issue of scrapping of Article 370 and Article 35 A to such a stage from where he could pull political maneuvering for bolstering his future political plans. Ditching NDA for another time could not be much off the mark. After all, personal preferences dominate everything in today`s politics.
JD (U) leaders have already started targeting Narendra Modi government for scrapping Article 370 and 35 A but it would be very premature to predict anything.
Bihar industries minister Shyam Rajak reacting on the issue of scrapping of Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir said democracy had been butchered through scrapping of Article 350 and Article 35 A calling it a black day in the history of India. JD (U) has taken a stand from very beginning that contentious issues should be resolved through consensus, he added.
As JD (U) joins opposition ranks in protesting against scrapping of Article 370 and Article 35 A, a hazy atmosphere envelopes Bihar’s political horizon once again. What more? Despite all these dissenting voice from JD (U), Bihar BJP is in upbeat mood as senior party leader and deputy chief minister Sushil Kumar Modi Deputy chief minister Sushil Kumar Modi described scrapping of Article 370 and Article 35 A as a historic and bold decision of Narendra Modi government.
Senior state BJP leader Sushil Modi greeting Prima Minister Narendra Modi and union home minister Amir Shah for taking initiative for scrapping of Article 370 and Article 35 A said nobody had gathered courage to take such a historic and courageous decision.
Going one step further, Sushil Modi said Congress president Rahul Gandhi and Prime Minister of Pakistan Imran Khan are equally disturbed following historic decision of Parliament to scrap Article 370 giving special status to Jammu and Kashmir.
“Voices of leaders like Janardan Dwivedi and chief whip of the party in Rajya Sabha Bhuvneshwar Kalita who was forced to resign, are being suppressed by leadership of Congress”, Sushil Modi added.