Chief Minister or Campaigner-in-Chief?

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Nitish Kumar, our beloved Chief Minister, loved by the entire anti-Modi camp like Lalu, Mamata, Mulayam et al, is once again on a 'Yatra', this time dubbed as 'Nishchay Yatra', to take yet another tour of Bihar supposedly to seek feedback on what many have described as 'Tughlaqi Farman' – his decision to go dry in the state.

Another explained reason for the Chief Minister's latest 'Yatra' of Bihar was to see how his so-called 'Saat Nishchay', or the 'Seven Resolves', that his Cabinet passed on February 19 earlier this year to 'put Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his place' for not giving special economic status to Bihar, was coming along.

Upper photo: Nitish Kumar inaugurates a running water faucet in Katihar. Lower photo: The CM turning the light on in Araria.Upper photo: Nitish Kumar inaugurates a running water faucet in Katihar. Lower photo: The CM turning the light on in Araria.

Throughout his 'Yatra', the Chief Minister is shown talking to large crowd in school playgrounds and stadium where mostly rural women are herded to by the local men of influence. With their face covered in 'ghunghats', women, and some local men as well, are subjected to long, winding rants of the man who is using the entire state machinery paid by the taxpayers to justify why he banned alcohol in the state instead of actually listening to people as to what they are saying, the original goal of the 'Yatra'.

At many places, the Chief Minister is shown turning a faucet and water flowing from it like it was a miracle the way Christ turned water into wine! At other places, again much to the amazement of him and his tail-wagging bureaucrats and local supporters, he is shown turning a light switch as a small room lights up with a spiffy LED bulb. Everyone claps; others take pictures and Nitish Kumar takes the credit for a truly 21st century miracle!

This 'Yatra' will go on for a few more months and, going by his past records, once it ends, another 'Yatra' will take birth allowing our honorable Chief Minister to continue to interact with the 'Praja' of which he is a 'Raja'. The only thing missing is the disguise of a poor man as the king sneaks out of his palace at late night to get a better understanding of the sufferings of his loyal subjects.

In the past 10 plus years, Mr. Nitish Kumar has taken dozens of such 'Yatras' under various fancy names like 'Adhikar Yatra', 'Vikas Yatra', 'Swabhiman Yatra', 'Sampark Yatra', 'Sankalp Yatra', and 'Seva Yatra', to name just a few, to take a tour of the state.

The question is why this man loves all these 'Yatras'?

The answer is simple – the man is in a permanent campaign mode. He loves to campaign. In fact, that is all he knows – campaign. Give him a motorcade, an open field, a few thousand ignorant people, and he will find a way to turn any event into a campaign. He doesn't even have to go too far to campaign – give him any past leader's birthday or death anniversary; he will very skillfully turn the event into a stump speech as if election was just around the corner.

When he cannot find a legitimate excuse to campaign, that is, there is no election in sight; Nitish Kumar will convene a 'Party Meet' in Patna which will once again look and sound like a speech on a campaign trail.

At other times when he is really hard-pressed to find a reason to campaign, he will find time to go to other states to canvass for local leaders who are opposed to Narendra Modi. His acceptance to speak at a rally organized by another Modi-hater of Gujarat Hardik Patel later in January of 2017 and his recent visits to Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal to influence local politics are examples of that.

Let's be honest; there is no denying Nitish Kumar loves to campaign. In fact, his whole life has been nothing but a never-ending campaign against something or someone. Governance or administration is not his forte – for that he has file-toting, ever-pleasing 'babus' who know the ins and outs of running a state. Being the Campaigner-in-Chief is his number one priority; running the state only gets in his way. In that sense, he is just like his Delhi counterpart Arvind Kejriwal – a fantastic campaigner but a lousy administrator. Without an ongoing campaign, these people are like fish out of water. Their entire survival depends on never-ending canvassing; in their student days also, they did nothing but campaign and that is what they do when they come into power. Expecting good governance from them is like expecting sun to rise in the west.

To be fair, Nitish Kumar is not the only one who loves perpetual campaigning disguised as 'yatras'. Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD), Hindustani Awam Morcha (HAM), Congress, Jan Adhikar Morcha (JAM) – they all take out yatras on a regular basis but then, they are not in power. They need such 'nautankis' in their attempt to remain politically relevant or to grab power. Nitish Kumar, on the other hand, is already in power; he doesn't need to campaign all the time. He just needs to govern.

Bihar needs an administrator; not a permanent campaigner. Until that happens, Biharis will be continued to be fooled by our so-called leaders.

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