The CM has lately been saying that he “will not compromise on the issue of social harmony”.
Since the defeat in March of NDA partners JD(U) and BJP in byelections for the Araria Lok Sabha and Jehanabad Assembly seats in Bihar, both at the hands of Lalu Yadav’s RJD, much political uncertainty has come to hang over the state. Sangh Parivar cohorts, including prominent Bihar BJP leaders and Union Cabinet ministers, made highly provocative remarks and full-scale communal riots erupted across several districts of the state following Ram Navami processions taken out by RSS-linked elements. The police failed comprehensively. With it sank Mr Kumar’s reputation of maintaining law and order.
Mr Kumar’s JD(U) won the Bihar Assembly polls in the company of the RJD. Last July, the CM opportunistically ditched the RJD and invited the BJP to join his government. In return, however, the CM’s party wasn’t given any Central portfolios. So there was dissent brewing in the JD(U).
But it’s after the communal riots that the CM’s panic became evident. Communal violence helps the BJP polarise Hindu votes but hurts the JD(U), which has posed for many years as wedded to communal harmony.
The CM has lately been saying that he “will not compromise on the issue of social harmony”. This is seen as some kind of implied threat to the BJP. But the JD(U) is in no position to threaten the BJP as the next Lok Sabha election nears.
The CM is crying on the shoulders of another Bihar NDA partner, Union minister Ram Vilas Paswan, who is also uncomfortable with the BJP’s aggressive communalism. But just the two together carry very little political weight in Bihar.