Ni­tish Counters Ya­dav Through Man­jhi

In bat­tle within JD(U), Ni­tish scores the win­ning points by play­ing a well-cal­cu­lated move to counter Sharad Ya­dav’s dom­i­nance in the party through se­lec­tion of Ji­tan Ram Man­jhi as the new Bi­har Chief Min­is­ter

The Economic Times - - Pure Politics - ASHOK MISHRA

On Fri­day, as leads from count­ing of votes in­di­cated that Ni­tish Ku­mar’s game plan to break away from the BJP had back­fired, he called up Janata Dal (United) chief Sharad Ya­dav and said he would like to step down as Bi­har’s chief min­is­ter. But what came as a sur­prise was the alacrity with which Ya­dav en­dorsed Ku­mar’s de­ci­sion to step down own­ing up the moral re­spon­si­bil­ity for the party’s drub­bing in the Lok Sabha polls. “You should quit,” the party chair­man told Ku­mar, ac­cord­ing to people with knowl­edge of the mat­ter. The sur­prise was be­cause Ya­dav him­self had lost from his tra­di­tional Mad­hep­ura seat. The can­di­dates he had fielded also lost. The baf­fle­ment turned into se­ri­ous sus­pi­cion when Ya­dav made pub­lic state­ments that a new leader would be cho­sen to re­place Ku­mar de- spite an overwhelming num­ber of JD(U) lead­ers de­cid­ing to stick with Ku­mar. Some JD(U) lead­ers were also piqued by the fact that Ya­dav was en­dors­ing the idea of a tie-up with Lalu Prasad’s Rashtriya Janata Dal for cor­ner­ing the BJP, a view looked at with much sus­pi­cion by the leg­is­la­tors, who felt that it was in­tended to marginalise Ku­mar in the long run. By the time Ya­dav landed in Patna, Ku­mar too started mak­ing counter moves. Ya­dav was ac­corded a hos­tile re­cep­tion by party work­ers and a min­is­ter was shoved and pushed around when they were en­ter­ing the of­fi­cial res­i­dence of the chief min­is­ter for at­tend­ing the cru­cial JD(U) leg­is­la­ture party meet­ing. Dur­ing the meet­ing, Ya­dav was heck­led by some leg­is­la­tors and min­is­ters who even ar­gued that the party chief also needed to take moral re­spon­si­bil­ity for the dis­mal per­for­mance. It was clear that the party leg­is­la­tors with few ex­cep­tions were solidly be­hind Ku­mar and wanted him to con­tinue as the chief min­is­ter de­spite strong doubts about him tak­ing back his res­ig­na­tion at the cost of cred­i­bil­ity.

The Ya­dav camp, mean­while, kept on pres­sure with two MLAs, Anirudh Ya­dav and Rabindra Rai, openly ad­vo­cat­ing for a change in lead­er­ship be­sides as­sert­ing that Ya­dav was not in mi­nor­ity within the party, some­thing which fur­ther en­raged an overwhelming num­ber of party lead­ers.

When it be­came clear that Ku­mar will not take back his res­ig­na­tion, the leg­is­la­tors made sure that they would not let Ya­dav have a say in the se­lec­tion of the new leader. The JD(U) leg­is­la­ture party, which again met on May 19, passed a unan­i­mous res­o­lu­tion au­tho­ris­ing Ku­mar to choose his suc­ces­sor.

Man­jhi rep­re­sents the most vul­ner­a­ble lot among the Dal­its

The fact that Ku­mar set­tled for Ji­tan Ram Man­jhi seemed to be a very well-cal­cu­lated move. Man­jhi rep­re­sented the most vul­ner­a­ble lot among the Dal­its, and Ya­dav had no op­tion but to go with Ku­mar’s de­ci­sion. Ya­dav had to go through the mo­tions of the party’s de­ci­sion that he was with Ku­mar on the se­lec­tion of the new chief min­is­ter. How­ever, his fa­cial ex­pres­sion was that of com­plete give­away; he had badly lost the game he had started with Ku­mar. And Ku­mar, de­spite the heavy beat­ing in the Bi­har bat­tle in the Lok Sabha polls, achieved three things by the time the whole res­ig­na­tion episode ended. He had es­tab­lished – de­spite the loss – he was still the undis­puted leader of the party. Ya­dav who is not from Bi­har re­mains an out­sider de­spite seek­ing to con­vert Bi­har into a po­lit­i­cal turf of his, and, by not tak­ing back his res­ig­na­tion, Ku­mar has de­nied his op­po­nents an op­por­tu­nity to claim that his res­ig­na­tion drama was just a po­lit­i­cal stunt.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from India

© PressReader. All rights reserved.