“Willing To Pay Any Price”: Message From Nitish Kumar’s Party On Violence

It hasn’t gone unnoticed that BJP leaders, or other right-wing activists associated with them, have been linked to the incidents of violence.

Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has been facing a barrage of criticism over his government’s less-than-impressive record in dealing with the recent round of communal violence. The Congress has called him “helpless” and leader of opposition Tejashwi Yadav has accused him of letting the BJP drive its agenda.

By Thursday evening, Nitish Kumar’s party Janata Dal (United) appeared to deliver a sharp message to the BJP to rein in leaders who are widely seen to have contributed to the communal disturbances. “Nitishji never compromises on the law and order from… and for this, we are willing to pay any price,” the JD (U) general secretary Shyam Rajak told NDTV.

The assertion was a lot sharper than Nitish Kumar’s communalism is “unacceptable” remark earlier this week aimed at sending a clear message to the BJP to stand down. But it did not have the desired effect. Incidents of communal violence that had been reported from Bhagalpur days earlier had reached some Samastipur and his own, Nalanda district too during the week.

Sources told NDTV that Chief Minister Nitish Kumar had been acutely uncomfortable over these incidents chipping away at his reputation of an administrator who held peace, not matter what. It hasn’t gone unnoticed that BJP leaders, or other right-wing activists associated with them, have been linked to the incidents of violence.

But there is some recognition within Nitish Kumar’s party that this may be something that Mr Kumar may have to live with. They see a pattern in the violence and mainstreaming the fringe, a reflection of the attempt to prepare the ground for the BJP ahead of the 2019 general elections.

One BJP leader called it “a tug of war” with the JD (S) strategy of mobilizing support by “social engineering versus social polarizing”. Or what has been referred to the politics of reservation and the Hindutva-brand of politics

In this, Nitish Kumar’s deputy Sushil Kumar Modi is seen to be inclined to back the Chief Minister’s politics but sources said, there was a limit how far he could go when BJP union ministers and the Bihar BJP’s chief pull in the opposite direction.

For instance, Mr Modi was the only BJP leader to decry attempts to link the murder of a man in Darbhanga to renaming the town square after Prime Minister Narendra Modi. But his attempt to draw the line for his party leaders failed. Union Minister Giriraj Singh and BJP state chief Nityanand Rai pushed to Darbhanga and not just contradicted Mr Modi but also, on camera, incited people against the administration.

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