24 June, 2021

A Nayak For Naya Bihar

After a break-up debate, Nitish rehearses a few new roles

Illustration by Sorit
A Nayak For Naya Bihar

On June 19, the Nitish Kumar-led JD(U) government in Bihar won the trust vote following a split with the BJP, its ally of 17 years, over the ascent of Narendra Modi. This outcome was expected. Of far more significance was the quality of deliberations in the Vidhan Sabha before the vote: notwithstanding political differen­ces, members of the assembly debated ground-level isues, development and ideologies in a textured and nuanced manner. It was in sharp contrast to the ‘national’ interpretation of such outcomes in monochrome or in binaries like secular versus communal, and those who heard it found positive reaffirmation of faith in this representative institution expressing the voice of India’s poorest. This was in sharp contrast to how debates have been conducted in the past: their quality had especially declined when the RJD was in government, especially when Rabri Devi was chief minister, or later, the leader of the opposition.

What was witnessed in the trust-vote debate was a definite pluralisation of political space. Not only was the...

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