By Abhishek Ranjan:
Dear Nitish Ji and Sushil Kumar Modi Ji,
I write this letter with extreme disappointment.
I am disappointed to know that both of you have chosen to not contest in the ensuing Bihar election. I am sure a lot of Biharis share this feeling.
Nitish Ji, you have been the Chief Minister of the State for the last 10 years and claim that it has progressed considerably under your rule. You also claim that the election will be fought on the issue of development. Why then such an aversion to contest election and put yourself under scrutiny? You are considered as one of the popular leaders in Bihar and remain the most preferred for the position of CM (going by media reports). Is it not a great disservice to the institution of democracy by becoming Chief Minister (which you will in case the Mahagathbandhan forms the government) via the route of Legislative Council? For a leader of a party that is going to contest only 100 seats in the State with 243 seats, a lack of time is an indefensible argument.
Sushil Modi Ji, you paint an even sorrier picture. You are a leader of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and a probable CM candidate. Now BJP advocates for a constitutional amendment so that the Prime Minister can come only from the Lok Sabha and not the Rajya Sabha, as Dr. Manmohan Singh chose to do. If we apply the same yardstick to the states, it leads us to believe that a Chief Minister should be a member of the Legislative Assembly and not Legislative Council. Does it mean that Sushil Modi has opted himself out of the CM-ship contention in case the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) is in a position to form the government? You should come clean on it. Your decision to contest would also have given people an opportunity to vote on your record as the Deputy CM of the State for 7 years. Considering the fact that many Central and State BJP leaders are involved in the election campaign, the ‘lack of time’ argument is not a valid defense here as well.
Wouldn’t it be correct to conjecture that the assembly election result of neighboring Jharkhand is bearing heavily on both of your minds where all the former Chief Ministers responsible for political instability, and poor condition of the State were rejected by the voters? I feel so, because both of you are responsible in reducing Bihar to a laboratory for your personal greed, and in the name of governance both of you misruled Bihar for a decade without an iota of concrete development.
The usefulness or its lack thereof, of the State Legislative Councils will be a matter of a separate discussion. It must be kept in mind that only 7 out of 29 Indian states have legislative council. When 6 out of these 7 states are successfully ruled by an elected Chief Minister, why are both of you disrespecting the idea of elected representation in Indian democracy?
Basically, it shows your fears and I can see the fear of defeat on your face. The popular belief, in a large section of Bihar, is that both of you will lose your political position after this election. If you both feel that you are popular among Bihari voters, please declare your candidature. It’s not too late as the election is yet to begin.
Since Nitish Kumar Ji is already the CM candidate of the Mahagathbandhan, he must contest and win the election to have the moral authority to rule (provided the Alliance gets the majority) and Sushil Modi Ji must either contest the election to strengthen his claim to the CM post (in case NDA gets the majority), or declare that he is not in the race.
I am looking forward to your filing of your nomination paper.
A proud Bihari
(Abhishek Ranjan is a law graduate from DU and he hails from Vaishali, Bihar. He has been a freelance journalist and a RTI and child rights activist, recently he successfully completed a 2 years journey in Gandhi Fellowship and is now working on government schools’ development project.)