Governance Now Visionary Talks Series

Bihar’s famous aloo and infamous democratic farce play out as state slips

Political parties indulging in all kinds of activities and pushing Bihar backwards

ajay

Ajay Singh | February 19, 2015 | Patna


#bihar   #nitish kumar   #manjhi   #laloo Prasad yadav   #manjhi   #assembly   #cabinet   #governance  


As one gets down at Patna airport, a billboard featuring Bihar chief minister Jeetan Ram Manjhi and agriculture minister Narendra Singh greets you with a bizarre proclamation – ‘bring out the biggest aloo (potato) and earn the prize’.

A little prodding about such billboards, popping up all around the state capital, reveals that the initiative was intended to promote agriculture in Bihar.

Bihar's fascination for "aloo" has anecdotal history. It was popular even in Pakistan when Lalu Prasad Yadav used to carry big potatoes to drive home the point in foreign land that Lalu and aloo that rhyme well were equally loved by masses.

There is nothing new in the way Bihar defines its own tryst with democracy that comprises all shades of extreme emotions. But the manner in which the charade of democracy is being conducted is nothing short of insidiously repugnant.

Perhaps there are no parallels that a group of dozen legislators was allowed to hold the entire state to ransom. Manjhi and his ministers do not belong to any party.

But Manjhi holds his cabinet meetings often twice in a day to make breath-taking announcements. If his decisions are to be implemented the state would go bankrupt beyond the scope of redemption.

His governments have been seeking outrageous and often hilarious advice from the advocate general. One such question put to the AG was on the scope of initiation of impeachment motion against Vidhan Sabha speaker Uday Narayan Chaudhary who belongs to the JD(U). However, the AG chose to look the other way instead of responding to such requests.

There are many such tales which expose the farce being enacted at Patna. Even other institutions like the judiciary have been contributing to the drama. The manner in which the Patna high court has been passing orders and amending them at short intervals in this political drama is quite amusing even for common people..

Now, Bihar is back in a time warp. Kidnappings have increased and criminals hold the sway in the state. Ironically, the man responsible for pushing the state on to this ruinous path is the one who restored governance in the state - Nitish Kumar. He calls it now a “wrong judgment" and Bihar is paying a heavy price for this judgement.

Curiously enough, the BJP which was in a position to gain maximum from this crisis of Nitish Kumar's making, does not have a patience to play a straight game. The party has been devising devious ways of propping up Manjhi to humiliate Nitish Kumar with the fine hope of winning over dalit sections. BJP leaders' impatience is borne out of their desire not to let Nitish Kumar take over the reign of the state again. In the process of this vendetta politics, democracy has become a game of deception and governance is found expendable.

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