Once upon a time in Mumbai
There is no end to the dirty politics being played over the arrest of a youth named Abdul Qadir Ansari in the border district of Sitamarhi in Bihar. Qadir was seen to be involved in the violence that had taken place at Azad Maidan in Mumbai on 11 August. He was seen vandalising the Amar Jawan Jyoti memorial. After his arrest, Bihar government raised a valid point as to why the local police was not informed by Mumbai police before arresting the culprit. Along with this valid point, the letter addressed to Mumbai police commissioner and DGP, Maharashtra threatened to take legal action against the policemen of Mumbai, who had arrested Qadir. The letter of Bihar government warned that a case of kidnapping can be filed against the Mumbai cops. This was the start of the dirty politics. The alleged culprit belonged to the Muslim community and by this offensive letter, the chief minister of Bihar wanted to convey their concern for the people belonging to the Muslim community in his state.
The problem with Nitish Kumar is that he has aligned with Bharatiya Janata Party [BJP], which is not liked by Muslims for its Hindutva politics. Nitish has to depend on the BJP to win elections and come to power, but at the same time, he wants to preserve his pro Muslim face. He may be thinking of leaving the company of BJP, if it projects Narendra Modi as its prime minister candidate in the next Lok Sabha elections. After his divorce with BJP, he would have to depend critically on the support of the Muslim community of Bihar. This is the reason why he wants to be seen vigorously pro Muslim. That is why such an offensive and threatening letter was written to Mumbai police by Bihar government.
But there are other people, who are fond of dirty politics. Raj Thackeray of Maharashtra Navnirman Sena is one among them. Another person is Uddhav Thackeray. Both Thackerays compete among themselves in getting dirtier. In response to the offensive letter of Bihar government, Raj Thackeray threatened to dub all Biharis in Mumbai as infiltrators and throw them out and his cousin Uddhav demanded the provision of issuing permit to Biharis living and working in Mumbai. The statements of both brothers amount to insulting the Indian Constitution and our system.
There is one remarkable difference between Raj and Uddhav from view point of Nitish Kumar and his Janata Dal [U]. While JD [U] has no political alliance with the MNS of Raj Thackeray, it does have an alliance with Shiva Sena of Uddhav Thackeray. Both are part of National Democratic Alliance [NDA] and President of JD[U] is the convener of this alliance. The leaders of JD[U] can be seen boasting that they have joined hands with BJP only after, they agreed to put the three anti Muslim issues on backburner. These three issues are construction of Ram temple on the disputed site of Babri Masjid, Uniform Civil Code and Article 370 related to Jammu and Kashmir. So, as far as BJP is concerned it is good, but what about Shiva Sena?
Shiva Sena is also part of NDA. It is a known sectarian party, which feeds on playing the outsider card in Maharashtra politics. It played a long inning of anti Gujarati and anti South Indian politics. Now it is playing anti Bihari and anti North Indian politics. JD[U] is a regional party of Bihar and Shiva Sena plays anti Bihari politics. The irony is both are part of the same NDA. Under the umbrella of NDA both parties have enjoyed the fruits of power in Atal Bihari Vajpayee government and both are still together in the same formation. The question is why JD[U] and its leaders do not put condition of shedding off anti Bihar politics of Shiva Sena for the continuation of NDA?
Congress spokesman has rightly said that Nitish should ask for the expulsion of Shiva Sena from NDA, if he is really perturbed by the ‘Permit for Bihari’ statement of Uddhav Thackeray. BJP is leading NDA. Vajpayee is its president and L K Advani is its working president. JD[U] leader Sharad Yadav is its convener. Why Nitish does not ask Advani and Sharad to expel Shiva Sena from NDA for anti Bihari and anti Constitutional statements of Uddhav Thackeray, who is the working president of Shiva Sena?
It is true that JD[U] has not aligned directly with Shiva Sena. Shiva Sena hardly exists outside Maharashtra and JD[U] rarely exists outside Bihar. They do not enter into political alliance and seat adjustments, when fighting elections in their respective strongholds. BJP needs Shiva Sena in Maharashtra and JD[U] in Bihar for its own better electoral performance. Both states are equally important for it and having alliance with both the parties are its [BJP’s] political needs. That is why BJP cannot break its alliance with Shiva Sena in Maharashtra, though it does not subscribe anti Bihari and anti North Indian views of its oldest electoral partner.
There is one way out for JD[U]. It can itself walk out from NDA in protest against the diatribes of Uddhav against Biharis and his offensive comment on Nitish Kumar. In fact, if BJP has to deal with its three regional alliances of Bihar, Punjab and Maharashtra individually, there is no need of NDA. BJP can have one alliance in Punjab, another in Bihar and yet another in Maharashtra, why should it need an alliance on national level? Yes, when it has to form government at the centre with the help of other regional parties, a name is to be given to the ruling alliance. But it is no longer in power at the Centre, then why is there the need of NDA?
Jharkhand is yet another case. There BJP is in power in association with Jharkhand Mukti Morcha and All Jharkhand Students Union. Interestingly these two parties of Jharkhand are not part of NDA. In Bihar, BJP is junior partner of JD[U], while in Jharkhand, BJP is leading the government. The example of Jharkhand can be followed in Bihar by Nitish.
So the best rebuff to the diatribes of Uddhav against Bihar can be walk out of JD[U] from NDA declaring that it cannot be seen in the alliance of Shiva Sena. On Bihar level it can still continue with its honeymoon with BJP. [ IPA]