22 September, 2020

A Realist Takes On An Illusionist

Nitish has delivered results for everyone to see. But Modi’s patter holds some pull.

A Realist Takes On An Illusionist

The BJP is already celebrating victory in the Bihar elections—clairvoyant farmers who sowed their seeds and can predict a bumper crop without any pest, hailstorm or drought. The ‘angel’ they are looking up to for delivering the rich bounty is none other than the ‘devil’ in the other camp: Laloo Prasad Yadav. If you believe their story, he is their greatest ally, not Ram Vilas Paswan, Upendra Kushwaha or Jitan Ram Manjhi. He is the bogeyman who will drive the horrified mas­ses to them and get them to their goal.

And you wonder, why did Nitish Kumar have to propitiate the bringer of nightmares? As chief minister, Nitish had an extraordinary track record: he had turned Bihar around, and the godforsaken state was going up in development indices. Besides, his integrity was impeccable. He could well have gone to the polls alone. Even if he had lost power, he would not have lost his greatest asset: his credibility.

That is the puritanical view. But puritanism doesn’t work in politics. It happens to be the philosophy of the...



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