Why is Nitish Kumar repeatedly teasing BJP?

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Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar has repeatedly been taking a different line than the ally BJP, lately. (File Photo, Image credit: NDTV.com)
Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar has repeatedly been taking a different line than the ally BJP, lately. (File Photo, Image credit: NDTV.com)

Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar demanded an inquiry into the Pegasus snooping row. Though his party JDU is a BJP ally yet, off late, Nitish Kumar has a divergent opinion on every emerging issue.

On Monday, asked by the media persons whether there should be an inquiry from a joint parliamentary committee or a sitting Supreme Court Judge as the opposition is demanding, Nitish said, “Certainly it should be done, the issue of phone tapping is coming from so many days. A discussion must be held on this.”

He said that on these issues every aspect should be completely looked into and steps should be taken, accordingly. “An investigation is also important since it is not known who the people are behind the phone tapping or hacking,” the Bihar CM further added.     

The Opposition parties have stalled the Monsoon Session of Parliament demanding inquiry after the reports of bugging of opposition leaders and scribes by the Israeli spyware, Pegasus, triggered controversy.

It needs to be mentioned that a couple of days back, JDU’s National executive Committee passed a resolution in favor of caste based census. Later, a delegation of the party led by newly elected National president Rajeev Ranjan Singh alias Lallan Singh handed a memorandum to Home Minister Amit Shah.

This whole exercise took place after the central government turned down the demand of caste based census. On July 20, Minister of state of Home Affairs Nityanand Rai informed the parliament that the government has decided not to enumerate caste wise census other than SCs/STs.

Earlier, when BJP led government of Uttar Pradesh proposed population control law which triggered discussion on TWO CHILD policy, Nitish Kumar disapproved the move. He said that the population rate falls with education and awareness, adding that law has a limited role in containing the population.

He stressed on the role of women’s education across communities in checking the population. Nitish went on to suggest that such a law may create population imbalance. Citing the example of China, he said that the nieghbouring country had to revise its policy with two children in place of the previous one child. Still the situation, there, is not satisfactory, he added.

Political observers are wondering over the strategy behind Nitish Kumar consistently taking different lines from the BJP. Indeed, on the issue of caste based census it may be said that he has a different stand and BJP is well aware of it as Bihar legislative Assembly has twice passed the resolution unanimously in its favor.

Bihar watchers are of the view that Nitish is just trying to assert his party’s different stand on these issues, as he always does, irrespective of the coalition. It must be remembered that Nitish supported demonetization and GST when he was part of the Grand Alliance.

Yet, it is also a fact that just months after backing the BJP led central government on demonetization and GST he switched over to NDA. Indeed, Nitish’s remarks on Pegasus and Two Child Policy suggest that there is some clear thought out strategy.

A Bihar based political observer on the condition anonymity said, “Nitish is a deft politician and he doesn’t respond arbitrarily. He weighs his word before uttering any views, though he makes it sound so natural that it appears impromptu. His chips are down after his party could only win 43 seats in the 2020 assembly election. Though BJP has offered him the chief ministerial chair, yet the saffron party is far more aggressive than previous outings. Therefore, Nitish is testing his options before reaching any decision.”

(Shams Khan is contributing editor at The News Web. The views expressed in the article are author’s own.)

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