DC Edit | Nitish’s new flip-flop shows up democracy in poor light

In yet another political flip-flop executed in the style of a blitzkrieg, Mr Nitish Kumar first resigned as chief minister of Bihar, bringing an end to the state government formed as an alliance between his party Janata Dal (United), the RJD and the Congress and then, hours later, took oath again as CM, this time as an ally of the BJP.

With Mr Kumar joining the ranks of the BJP-led NDA months before the Lok Sabha election commences, the Congress-led Opposition bloc, INDIA, suffered a jolt, but it was neither a surprise nor was it unforeseen. Because whatever either alliance says by way of reaction, it is not the first time that he has changed sides.

It is for the ninth time that Mr Kumar, now the longest serving chief minister of Bihar and one of the longest serving CMs in the history of India, has taken oath for the post of CM. Quite remarkably, his party has never won absolute majority. Mr Kumar has switched sides and, walking a political tightrope, landed perfect somersaults with the finesse of a trapeze artiste.

In this term of the Bihar Legislative Assembly, it is the third time that he is taking oath as chief minister. After the last Assembly election, he took oath as the NDA CM, leading the JD(U)-BJP alliance in government. Then he broke free of the NDA and joined the Opposition ranks. He formed and led a government of the JD(U), RJD and the Congress, which after 18 months, he has broken again, and reverted to the earlier arrangement.

Whenever Mr Kumar breaks free from the BJP-led NDA, he is worried about secularism and minorities, democracy and freedoms. Whenever he breaks his alliance with the Congress and the RJD, he is worried about corruption and family rule, and talks about nationalism. Each of his allies and former allies should introspect because they have all hailed him as a champion or lampooned him for betrayal far too many times.

Anyone can be fooled or cheated for the first time, but when it happens repeatedly, following a boring but technically perfect script, no one involved is innocent. And the game being played is one of power grab.

Each of the major leaders from different parties, be it Jitan Ram Manjhi, Chirag Paswan or J.P. Nadda, all of whom were present at the latest oath-taking ceremony of Mr Kumar, has been seen hailing him and flaying him.

During the interregnums, the only common factor has been his chief ministership of Bihar, and perhaps, the larger misfortune of the state and its people. Mr Kumar will go down in Indian history not only as one of its great survivors, but also one who beat most others in the pursuit of politics as an art of compromise.

All the clichés, “there are no permanent friends or enemies in politics”, “anything is possible in politics” and “politics makes for strange bedfellows”, fit him perfectly. But in the end, when the sun does set on his career, someone will ask him what transformation he achieved for the people of Bihar. And all his days in power will not be a substitute for the lack of any tangible legacy.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle )
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