By overplaying the Sushant Singh Rajput card and sheer inept handling of the ground situation the BJP-led NDA has not only jeopardised its own poll prospect in Bihar but has once again given the political parties of Maharashtra to whip up anti-North India passion. Chief minister Uddhav Thackeray’s Shiv Sena and Maharashtra Navnirman Sena of Raj Thackeray have closed their ranks on the issue of maligning the image of Mumbai Police.
Besides, several former top cops of Maharashtra, including the ex- state ATS chief K P Raghuvanshi, have taken strong exception to the way the image of Mumbai Police have been tarnished by TV channels. Eight former IPS officers, including DGPs, have moved the Bombay High Court against the “unfair, malicious, and false media campaign” against the Mumbai Police in this case. This includes Raghuvanshi, who is considered close to the saffron brigade.
As millions of work force from north India are either employed or have their businesses in this western state, the whole issue of Maharashtra vs Bihar has the potential to make the life further tough for migrant labours in the post-Corona days. It is only a couple of months back that the Maharashtra government facilitated their return to their respective states, the whole issue of regionalism is bound to open the old wound.
If the BMC can dare to demolish the office of loud-mouthed actress Kangana Ranaut and MNS, which is actually opposed to Shiv Sena, can ask that if the people from outside have any problem they can live in their own respective states, how insecure an average North Indian, especially Bihari, would find in this hour of crisis. Youths from Bihar have started feeling the heat of what they call the “stupidity” of the Nitish Kumar government as well as the alliance partner BJP to make so much hue and cry over the death of just one person.
Initially no one was against the independent probe over the death of the actor, but the way the NDA is trying to make it a poll issue has certainly backfired in Sushant’s own state. After all the opposition parties of Bihar too sought an inquiry into the death. The leader of opposition in Bihar Assembly Tejashwi Prasad Yadav even went to his father’s home in Patna to condole his death. Then where is the scope for making it an election issue.
It is the average students who have to bear the brunt of Shiv Sena and MNS workers when they go to appear in any competitive exams in Maharashtra. Still, they are of the view that recently the Uddhav Thackeray government was more helpful than the Nitish Kumar government back in Bihar in ensuring the return of migrant workforce in the post-lockdown days.
The migrant workers who are still in Bihar and have not returned to Maharashtra are furious over the way chief minister Nitish Kumar in his virtual rally on Sep 7, defended his decision on Sushant Singh Rajput case and the way the Bihar BJP’s Cultural Cell has launched a campaign to mobilise the voters in protest against what they call murder of the actor.
As more skeletons are coming out of cupboard the actor is actually losing the early sympathy even in his home state. Instead it is shifting towards Rhea Chakravarty and people in Bihar too are deploring the way media trial is going out against her.
The common refrain here is that if Nitish cannot give jobs here in Bihar he should at least ensure that they live and earn their livelihood in a better way in Maharashtra. Not only Bihar chief minister, even the state director general of police, Gupteshwar Pandey, cut ridiculous figures.
With the situation in poll-bound Bihar turning hostile towards the present establishment the biggest problem with the BJP is that it has made former Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis the party in-charge for Bihar election. Fadnavis’ problem is that his party is becoming isolated from this issue in Maharashtra itself.
The rank and file of the party both in Bihar and Maharashtra are finding it really difficult to overcome this situation. All this exercise has been done simply because late Sushant was a cousin of BJP legislator from Bihar Neeraj Kumar Bablu.
(Soroor Ahmed is a senior journalist based in Patna. The views are personal.)