Is Nitish “Mr. Clean” When Corruption Is Rightly Redefined?
Lately, discussions in media are centered on corruption and secularism following the political developments in Bihar. Nitish Kumar’s breaking away from Mahagathbandhan (Grand Alliance) is seen as a fight against corruption allegedly the Yadav’s family involved in it.
The debates were so held because the corruption is perceived as something that involves misappropriation of money or bribing by people in authority. No one denies that it is also corruption, and Lalu Yadav himself was a convict in such a case, but this definition or perception of corruption is barely adequate to represent numerous dishonest, illegal and immoral practices being reported every day as committed by the powers that be.
Many questions arise when corruption is talked about as a phenomenon. What do we call the nexus between the business people and the political class? Does not crony capitalism fall under corruption label? Cannot be quid pro quo deals referred to as corrupt deals? What do we call the offering of thousands of acres of agricultural land to industrialists in the name of development? What do we call building big dams which are leading to the eviction of lakhs of adivasis from their own lands and forests? What do we call the shifting grounds, time and again, for political gains? What constitutes corruption is to be redefined by us before seeking answers to such questions.
Take the case of Lalu Prasad Yadav and Nitish Kumar. The two disciples of Jayaprakash Narayan (JP), the veteran socialist, who certainly deviated from the basic tenets of socialist ideology and have remained only mere preachers of egalitarian and secular ideals.
While Lalu Yadav hugged the Congress, which itself took a U-turn from its own Nehruvian socialist economic policies particularly since the 90s, Nitish embraced rightwing BJP as and when he felt it necessary to have a relationship with the BJP for electoral or other gains.
In fighting corruption, Nitish has conveniently forgotten secular values he has been preaching for a longtime. If Nitish Kumar is really against corruption, why in 2015 elections did he choose to go in with Lalu Yadav, who was already a convict in fodder case? Nitish is yet to answer the question. However, Nitish’s immediate response for such uncomfortable questions was that he would answer them at an appropriate time.
Secondly, he aligned with a party which he himself termed as communal. Nitish, who once wanted a Sangh-mukt Bharat, has conveniently forgotten his slogan. Doesn’t this kind of opportunism come under corruption? As we know that caste, religion and such vices are institutionalized in our society and result in economic oppression against millions of poor. The discrimination among these lines creates a kind of unrest among people, and it hampers the growth of the country.
Nitish should not have aligned with the BJP by considering these facts, if he is really committed to the cause of secular values, uplift of the poor and development of Bihar. He would have been regarded in high esteem, had he gone to the polls instead of joining hands with BJP. But he lost this opportunity only to be regarded as a political opportunist.