JD(U)-RJD alliance in Bihar: Won't compromise on Nitish's anti-corruption ideals to save govt, says Sanjay Jha

A son can bear with equanimity the loss of his father, but the loss of his inheritance may drive him to despair. Machiavelli’s political expediency will be stretched to a whole new level when the loss in question isn’t inheritance but acquired political capital, because then it results not just in despair but also fury.

Leaders of Bihar's ruling Janata Dal United (JD(U)) are a furious lot these days. It is a well-known fact that Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar, who first rose to power in the state in 2005, has laid down roads in his state and restarted defunct schools, and has eventually come to be known as the state’s Vikas Purush (the man who brought development) and Susashan Babu (Mr Good Governance).

File image of JD(U) leader Sanjay Jha. News 18

File image of JD(U) leader Sanjay Jha. News 18

On one hand, Nitish has been trying to rebuild Brand Bihar with an emphasis on corruption-free politics and on the other hand, JD(U) ally Lalu Prasad Yadav, his wife Rabri Devi and his son Tejashwi Prasad Yadav, the current deputy chief minister of Bihar, have been named in a case filed by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).

The investigation agency has alleged that the family received land in Patna in exchange for granting a private company the contract to maintain two railway hotels. These charges come less than a month after the Supreme Court’s ruling that Lalu will face charges of criminal conspiracy and fraud in a fresh trial related to the 1996 fodder scam.

Speaking to Firstpost, Sanjay Jha, national general secretary of JD(U), said that the political ideals shaped by Nitish will not be compromised 'at any cost'. His statement that “any disruption of the existing government is a lesser price to pay than compromising on the party’s political ideals” has strained the already taut relations between Lalu's Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) and the JD(U).

“We assumed power in Bihar only for the upliftment of its 11 crore residents, and not to defend any individual,” noted Jha. He also shared that in a recent meeting cabinet meeting, Nitish had said that Tejashwi will have to defend himself against the charges in a transparent manner. During the meeting, Nitish also brought up his own example when he resigned as the railway minister, taking responsibility of the 1999 Gaisal train disaster in Assam that had killed at least 290 people.

“The then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee later included me in his cabinet,” Jha quoted Nitish as saying.

Jha said that not just Nitish but even the party has displayed "high moral standards" by accepting resignations of leaders who have demonstrated shortcomings in their political conduct, be it Jitam Ram Manjhi in 2005, Ramadhar Singh in 2011, or Awdesh Kumar Singh and Ramanand Singh in 2015. According to Jha, in the meeting, some JD(U) ministers also raised their voice against corruption and asserted that that they won’t compromise with their stand against corruption because that is their asset.

“In his political career spanning over 40 years, Nitish Kumar has spent 12 years as a chief minister, and has handled several portfolios as a union minister, including railways, surface transport and agriculture. In all these years, he has stood firm on his resolve of zero tolerance towards corruption,” Jha told Firstpost.

According to Central Statistics Office data, Bihar’s gross state domestic product as a percentage of the GDP of all states and Union territories has been steadily increasing, from 2.5 percent in 2005-06 to 3.1 per cent in 2013-14, when Nitish was chief minister. In 2005-06, the per capita income of the state was 29.2 percent of the all-India figure. By 2013-14, this had increased to 38.9 percent of the all-India per capita income. JD(U) chief is trying hard to build Brand Bihar, which is now being sullied by Tejashwi, who is shrouded in fraud charges. This, as Jha puts it, is something that the party will not tolerate.

The article was originally published by Firstpost Hindi. 

Updated Date: Jul 12, 2017 10:03 AM

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