Dipankar Bhattacharya: ‘Nitish must quit NDA’

 ‘The Nitish government has been busy appeasing RSS,’ says CPI-ML (Liberation) General Secretary Dipankar Bhattacharya

Akash Bisht Delhi 

How do you look at this rift between the JD(U) and BJP?

We want Nitish Kumar to clarify his position. He sometimes gives time to the BJP to make the decision and then he says that this whole thing is a media creation. If this rift is over Narendra Modi and 2002 then I must say that Nitish is waking up very late. It was clear what role Modi played in the genocide of 2002; so what has Nitish been doing in the last 11 years? If he is serious about this, then he must quit the NDA and apologise to the people of India and Bihar.

However, the truth is, his government has been promoting and strengthening the BJP in Bihar and he is misleading the people of the state with this shift in goalpost and agenda. The people of Bihar are demanding good governance so he is using this agenda to divert their attention. 

What are your views on the claim that the Bihar model is inclusive while the Gujarat model is not inclusive.

What is an ideal model? I don’t see different models existing in different states or at the Centre. The fact of the matter is that each government, be it a central or state government, are following the same set of policies that are pro-corporate, pro-World Bank and pro-WTO. Gujarat and Bihar can’t be compared as the two belong to different trajectories. While Bihar is landlocked, Gujarat is a coastal state and there have been historical differences between the two. Gujarat has been historically prosperous while Bihar has been a poor state.

In Bihar, false claims are being made about development and most of the poor are feeling excluded. There have been numerous scams in schemes that directly benefit the poor. The MGNREGS scam recently shot into the limelight. Also, the Bihar government has decided to lower the MGNREGS wages by Rs 20. There has been a concerted effort by the government to appease the BJP, the RSS, and other feudal forces. So, this whole idea of inclusion is an eyewash.

JD(U) leaders claim that the EBCs, Maha Dalits and Pasmanda Muslims constitute a sizeable chunk of their votebank and they will vote the JD(U) to power if the alliance breaks apart.

How can they be considered their votebank? For decades, EBCs, Maha Dalits and Pasmandas were not even allowed to vote; they did not even have voting rights. After years of protracted struggles by the CPI-ML (Liberation), voting rights were given to these economically and socially backward sections. And now they claim that they constitute their votebank. These communities have been systematically betrayed by successive governments. They have been given reservations but that is now a uniform national reality so they alone can’t stake claim to that. There have been no material improvements in the daily lives of these marginalized communities and only during elections they become votebanks of different political parties. Now, people are demanding answers, so they are making all these tall claims. The BJP too is trying to woo these sections and there is contention over grabbing votes from this section. 

How true are the claims that, under the patronage of the Nitish government, the RSS has made deep inroads in the state?

True, the RSS has been a part of the Nitish government and they have spent days and nights to appease communal and feudal forces. Everyone knows that even when the RSS is out of the government they systematically advance their agenda. Imagine what they can do when they are in power. The Nitish government has been busy appeasing these forces. In many areas, RSS propaganda has been very successful. The strong RSS propaganda was visible in the Forbesganj police firing case. Scores of Muslim youths have been picked up from Madhubani, Darbhanga, Samastipur and Arari in the name of fighting terror and the state government has not even raised any concern. There have been major killings in Nagra, Gaya and other places where the perpetrators have been allowed to go free. Justice in Bihar has been skewed and there have been double standards in the justice delivery system.   

This story is from the print issue of Hardnews: MAY 2013