In a full-throated attack on big businesses and the media, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has said corporates, which were ‘apolitical’ till recently, have stepped into the political discourse.
“There is a politicisation of corporates. For their interests, they are speaking in favour of an individual,” he said in an exclusive conversation with The Hindu at his official residence. This amounted to reversing the democratic achievement of taking the power to the poorest and weakest sections, but their attempt would not succeed, he argued.
Mr. Kumar said attempts to impose a presidential-style contest on a parliamentary setup like India would fail. It might work in a two-party system, but it was not compatible with a “multiplicity of parties.”
He did not name any individual, but his comments were clearly directed at the campaign of BJP’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi.
Mr. Kumar said that while religion and caste would continue to be factors, he sought to create a separate identity— of Bihari sub-nationalism — to weaken other categories.
The Chief Minister said the Raghuram Rajan committee’s report, which has worked out a new development index, marked a “step forward” for Bihar, which along with eight other States has been ranked the least developed. It was also an acknowledgement of the principle that the least developed States merited special assistance, a demand Mr. Kumar has been making for long.
Asked whether this would pave the way for him to ally with the Congress, he was non-committal.