There has always been a strange attraction between Indian socialists and the chaddis, and Nitish is no exception

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There has always been a strange attraction between Indian socialists and the chaddis, and Nitish is no exception

Post by Rashmun on Fri Jul 28, 2017 1:07 am

The sudden resignation of Nitish Kumar from the chief ministership in Bihar and swift joining hands with the BJP to form a coalition government is par for the course for any one who has observed socialist politics in India over the decades. Kumar’s moves perfectly illustrate two prime characteristics of Indian socialists – the inability to remain in a stable relationship for long (especially with other socialists) and a strange attraction towards the Sangh parivaar.

One would think, going purely by their ideological moorings, that the socialists, who lean towards the Left (or ought to) and the BJP, which is right-wing, would be opposed to each other. They may find common ground – such as in their anti-Congressism – but on all other matters, economic and social, they would be at loggerheads. But Indian political history is replete with examples of not just tactical adjustments between the two but full blown love affairs. Socialists have joined BJP-dominated governments with gusto – George Fernandes is an example – and stood by the Sangh through thick and thin.

Nitish has taken this to a new level. He not only was a member of the Vajpayee cabinet, but also ruled Bihar with the BJP as a coalition partner. In 2002, when Gujarat burned and there were voices even within the BJP to hold Narendra Modi to account, Nitish, then the Union rail minister, kept his counsel and stuck on to his post....

The original question remains, why are the socialists, especially of a particular ilk, so enamoured by the Sangh. In the 1960s, Ram Manohar Lohia was quite comfortable with the idea of joining hands with the Jan Sangh. But the socialists themselves kept on forming new entities and then splitting, amoeba like, into tiny outfits.

Jayaprakash Narayan – a leading light of the socialist wing of the Congress – was fully supported by the RSS in his agitation against Indira Gandhi and had declared at a Jan Sangh meeting, “If you are fascist, I am a fascist”. His endorsement of the RSS was not liked by several of his supporters and interestingly, it was the socialist Madhu Limaye who brought the matter to a boil and insisted that the Jan Sangh members of the Janata Party quit the RSS, paving the way for the Janata’s split. (Ironically, when the BJP was formed in 1980, its creed was to be Gandhian socialism. Perhaps the genus is the same.)...

In that sense, Nitish has only done a ghar wapsi – he was always uncomfortable with Lalu on his side, but can now breathe easy with his soul brothers. He is finally home.


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