Despite being in alliance with the BJP, Nitish is regarded as a hardcore Mandal protagonist and in private conversations, while comparing Lalu Prasad Yadav with Nitish Kumar, rabid upper caste sections in Bihar, including those sympathetic to the now-defunct Ranvir Sena, a private army of the land owning caste, openly say that from the upper-castes’ point of view, Nitish was more harmful than Lalu. ‘Nitish Kumar, through his carefully crafted reservation policy at the Panchayat, Block and district levels, hit us in the belly’, is the common refrain.
Caste based census is not the only card being played by Nitish. The Bihar CM is also on record saying he favoured ‘one nation, one electricity tariff’, which is seen not only mocking BJP’s slogans of ‘one nation, one election’ and ‘one nation, one tax’ but also as an audacious assertion of authority.
As if that was not enough, the politically loaded meeting between Ashok Chaudhary, Nitish’s blue eyed boy, and CPI’s poster boy, sedition case accused Kanhaiya Kumar, whom BJP leaders taunt as one of the leaders of the ‘Tukde tukde gang’, has not gone unnoticed. Despite Kanhaiya and Nitish being on opposing sides of the political divide, they are known to share cordial relations and mutual respect and admiration. The Bihar CM is reported to have personally intervened to facilitate the JNU Students’ Union ex-President’s political yatra in the state. In return Kanhaiya Kumar has never been irreverent towards the chief minister.
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