Nitish’s Mann Ki Baat After Meeting Amit Shah: Thank God You Came
(The write up is a fictional account of what went through Nitish’s mind during and after his meeting with Amit Shah in Patna)
The background music at the venue of the meeting between Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and Bharatiya Janata Party President Amit Shah said it all. The lines of legendary ghazal singer Jagjit Singh very much captured the mood of the host.
(Thank god you came after considerable delay. While we were slightly concerned, we never gave up hope)
Deep down Nitish knew that Amit Shah had given him many sleepless nights. Bihar’s turn came after Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Tripura, Punjab and scores of other states. Why has Bihar with 40 Lok Sabha seats gone off the BJP president’s radar? Maybe, he does not need allies like us. Or has he realised that none of his allies has any other option but to be part of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA)?
Is Remaining With the NDA Nitish’s Only Option?
My party indeed has no option but to go along with the BJP in Bihar, the realisation soon dawned upon Nitish. There is a big ‘No Entry’ board at Lalu ji’s residence. The Congress is unwilling to let go of its alliance with the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD). There is no merit in going to the elections alone. What else is there except to ally with the BJP?
What disappointed him though after meeting Amit Shah was the latter’s routine assurance that concerns of all stakeholders would be taken care of. All that he said was let us focus on winning all 40 seats in the state. Distribution of seats is bound to happen. What is the hurry?
It was Nitish’s turn to go back to another set of lines from Jagjit Singh’s other popular ghazal.
(The difference between you and me is that while I want to get things done quickly, you seem to be in no hurry)
Did Biharis Err in Pushing Nitish to the Margin?
We gave up hopes of being a big brother long ago. All we want is a respectable number of seats so that we keep our honour intact. After all, I happen to be the superstar of Bihar politics. I still retain the title of sushasan babu. Am I not known as the turnaround leader of Bihar?
But for one election, my party has done exceedingly well in all the elections in the last 15 years. The 2014 Lok Sabha election was just a one-off event. We could win only two seats, including my home constituency of Nalanda, with a vote share of 16 percent. We trailed the BJP by a huge margin but did much better than the Congress and Ramvilas Paswan’s Lok Janshakti Party (LJP). What is important is the mean and not the deviation. How can the exception become the rule and be used as a benchmark to deny a fair share of seats to us to contest the Lok Sabha elections?
Hoping for the best, the inimitable lines of Mirza Ghalib brilliantly set to tune by Jagjit Singh immediately came to his mind.
(In the midst of countless desires worth dying for, some got fulfilled, many are still waiting to reach their logical conclusion)
Can Aberration Be the Benchmark?
What rankles me the most is the outcome of the 2014 general elections. How could Biharis do something like this to me? That was the only election I contested alone without any ally. Biharis had a golden opportunity to crown me as their choicest son. How could they become so ungrateful? They reduced me to a place I never belonged at. Two lines from Jagjit Singh’s ghazal came to his rescue yet again.
(In the state of splendid isolation inside a jungle, I wonder how faithful they have been)
Disappointment soon gave way to elation the moment the sequence of what happened in October-November of 2015 came to mind. Thank god, Biharis soon rediscovered my true worth. I am the one who punctured the BJP’s unprecedented electoral bull run. How could anyone give credit to Lalu ji for Mahagathbandhan’s spectacular show in the Assembly elections.
I was the leader, the chief ministerial face of the coalition and people voted for my re-election. People started floating my name as the potential challenger to Modi ji. Lalu ji also announced that he would back me as a challenger to Modi ji in the 2019 general elections.
Now, biased commentators have started making nonsensical comments on my political career. They have started saying that I will be lucky if my party is able to retain the vote share attained in 2014. That the support of Muslims, especially the backward Muslims, has all gone because of my suspected secular credentials. That there are other powerful contenders for Mahadalit votes and that most backward classes will prefer the BJP to my Janata Dal (United). All rubbish. I am the one who manufactured these groups and made them powerful social groups. How can they not vote for my party?
But what if they are true? Nitish’s inner voice comes to haunt him. “This was bound to happen. You have followed just one -ism, opportunism. You have changed sides so many times that people are confused now. They don’t know what you stand for. They don’t know if you stand for anything at all,” the inner voice jolted him with uncharitable words.
Making Sense of Nitish’s Many Moods Through Jagjit Singh’s Ghazals
I have to prove them all wrong, Nitish said to himself, trying hard to overcome the shocks of his inner voice. But let me focus on securing more seats for my party now. Getting fewer seats now means settling for even fewer seats in the Assembly. How will I then retain my chief ministerial chair?
The disgust for ungrateful Biharis filled his mind again, reminding him of a few lines from Jagjit Singh’s ghazal yet again.
(Feel like renouncing the world. The problem though is that the jungle, mountain and desert – everything belongs to you.)
Nitish is still figuring out who is “you” here.