Mahadalit Chief Minister for Bihar: Nitish Kumar`s `Ostrich problem`

Nitish Kumar`s sudden resignation and the selection of Manjhi, a Mahadalit, looks aimed at capturing the vote bank that drifted towards the BJP under the influence of the Modi wave.

By Ajith Vijay Kumar | Updated: May 20, 2014, 15:35 PM IST

Zee Media Bureau/Ajith Vijay Kumar

New Delhi: While the anointment of Jitan Ram Manjhi, a Mahadalit leader, is a welcome move if one was to see the development through the prism of social justice.

Manjhi was minister for Scheduled Castes and Schedule Tribes welfare in the state cabinet and his elevation to the highest executive office in the state holds the potential – at least theoretically – to change the lives of the marginalised for the better. And, Manjhi can start from his own community `Musahars`, they are only 10% literate.

However, Nitish Kumar`s sudden resignation and the selection of Manjhi, a Mahadalit, looks aimed at capturing the vote bank that drifted towards the BJP under the influence of the Modi wave.

Kumar hopes to send out the signal that it is only him, who would walk the talk on empowerment of the over 15% Dalit population in the state.
However, his resignation after over 8 years in power is seen as a desperate attempt to quash rebellion in the party and reinforce his supremacy.

More interestingly, Nitish as CM would have had to meet PM Modi, a prospect he would have been uncomfortable given his staunch opposition to Modi.

However, by asserting that he was open to taking up the top job again, Kumar has exposed his real intent behind making Manjhi the CM.

Nitish said he would lead the party in the assembly elections scheduled for 2015. “I will go to the people again, and if they give us the mandate, I will again take the responsibility of leading the government,” he said.

There are also talks of a mega alliance being patched up in Bihar with even Lalu Yadav open to the idea of working with his friend-turned-foe. All this in the name of upholding `secularism`. Saying Modi as PM is a threat to secularism, they would argue to seek votes on the basis of caste and religion.

That makes one wonder – can`t a person as erudite as Nitish Kumar see the writing on the wall?
Psychologists call it the ‘ostrich problem’ - ignoring information that can help us. The ostrich buries its head in the sand when faced with a problem and ignores any and every information that can save it.

Charles Darwin said: "It is not the strongest or the most intelligent who will survive but those who can best manage change."

The winds of change have swept Bihar and large parts of India. The `Aam Aadmi` has voted decisively for a new government.

And, the biggest votaries of the change wave have been people of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. While one may be tempted to suggest that division of anti-Modi votes helped the BJP, the other way of putting it in perspective would be by taking note of the consolidation of voters, irrespective of caste affiliations, towards Modi.

And, all of them are anchored to one dream – development. There`s no other factor bigger than Modi`s unwavering talk of “Acche Din” (good days) that has brought him to 7 RCR.

The nation wants and talks development and growth. And then there is Nitish Kumar, he wants to practice social engineering when the nation has already engineered a change in hope of a better future.