Nitish Kumar and his party, the Janata Dal (United), a long-time ally of the Bharatiya Janata Party, want the BJP’s prime ministerial candidate to be a ‘secular’ person. Ironically, the champions of secularism have taken this stand because of their communal politics of Muslim vote-bank. By their definition, Narendra Modi is a ‘communal’ person, and they are afraid that Muslim voters will not vote for the JD(U) if he is accepted by the party as the NDA’s prime ministerial candidate.
Mr. Kumar should understand that the politics of secularism and communalism has outlived its utility. Nobody votes for a person or party for the secular tag. The new planks for electoral success are development and governance, to which Mr. Modi’s successive victories in Gujarat can justifiably be attributed.
Mr. Kumar has gone too far in bringing unilateral pressure on not only the BJP but the entire NDA. As an ally, he is doing significant damage to the NDA’s solidarity at a time when the alliance has a rare opportunity to come to power.
If Mr. Modi failed in 2002 as Chief Minister, so did Mr. Kumar as Railway Minister. He was the Railway Minister when the Godhra train tragedy took place. It is mandatory on the part of the Railways to hold a departmental inquiry by the Commissioner of Railway Safety into an accident. But Mr. Kumar did not conduct this inquiry because he was under pressure.
The JD (U)’s legitimate fear of losing the minority votes in Bihar is quite evident from its ‘no’ to Mr. Modi as the NDA’s prime ministerial candidate. Its stand cannot be faulted because only a secular leader can lead a huge nation like ours. The minorities will continue to feel unsafe if a radical leader like Mr. Modi becomes Prime Minister.
Md Shabbir Ahmed,
Mr. Kumar’s much awaited response to the possibility of the BJP declaring Mr. Modi its prime ministerial candidate is now in the open. The Bihar Chief Minister has raised many issues that are difficult to ignore. His assertion that development that is not inclusive and representative, and which does not empower all sections, is meaningless raises a very fundamental question about the ideal growth model a pluralist country like India needs to follow.
The BJP is caught in a dilemma. In Mr. Modi, it has a leader who has become synonymous with growth and development; a leader who apparently has the maximum appeal among the party’s rank and file; and a leader who has captured the imagination of the middle class. It needs to take a decision on whether or not to declare Mr. Modi its prime ministerial candidate after weighing all the pros and cons. This, for sure, will change the course of Indian politics.