PATNA: Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar has suddenly come in a new role these days—offering “clarifications” about what have been reported in the media over recent developments in the country.
Especially, the chief minister has expressed objections over two things—Firstly, why the media has reported that JD-U was ignored in the allocation of ministerial berths in the Narendra Modi Cabinet during its Sunday reshuffle and secondly, how it was inferred that what the PM announced as a flood relief was final.
In response to the first query, the chief minister clarifies, “This was all media speculations. Kendriya mantrimandal mein jane kin na ichha thi na apeccha (Joining the union cabinet was neither our desire nor expectation)”.
He gives even more bizarre explanation with regard to the second question regarding grant of only Rs 500 crore by PM Modi for the victims of devastating Bihar floods. “The Prime Minister has announced Rs 500 crore as an immediate relief. Yah tatkal sahayata hai, antim nahin (That is immediate relief, and not the final),” he claimes.
Nitish Kumar’s explanations came in the light of reports in the local media that what Modi announced as a flood relief this time was much less than those announced by former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for the Kosi flood victims in 2008. Singh had then announced a relief package of Rs 1,000 crore for Kosi flood victims although the level of flood devastation was much less than this year’s.
So, why a chief minister is required to offer such explanations? The problem with him is that the local media and the experts have gone on linking the two incidents with his suddenly “sour-looking” relations with the Prime Minister barely a month after joining the BJP camp.
Observers say the fresh trouble, if any, apparently lies in the “three epic mistakes” of Nitish Kumar which he committed as the chief minister in between June 2010 to June 2013 when he looked more powerful. They have now come to haunt him and obviously bound to adversely impact his political career, political experts feel.
The chief minister committed the first blunder when he in a fit of fury cancelled the dinner of all visiting BJP leaders of which Modi too was also a part and then in a subsequent action also returned Rs 5 crore cheque to the Gujarat government which it had donated to the flood victims two years back. The incident took place in June 2010 when the BJP leaders were here to take part in party’s national executive meeting.
Kumar reacted that way just after the BJP carried an advertisement in the local media showing Nitish Kumar shaking hands with Modi, then chief minister of Gujarat.
The Bihar chief minister committed the third mistake when he broke 17-year-old alliance with the BJP in June 2013 just after Modi was projected as NDA’s Prime Ministerial candidate. These mistakes continue to haunt him now that he has gone back in the company of the BJP, according to observers.