NEW DELHI: Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, who completes 100 days in office after returning to the NDA fold in July, may appear politically marginalised, but the good thing for him is that he has been able to run his government smoothly, unlike in the past.
Kumar can now focus on economic issues in the state much more, and the intensity of his campaign against social issues such as child marriage and dowry is far less. Prohibition of liquor though still tops his agenda.
The most visible change in his first 100 days is that he has been able to review the performance of almost every department in an expeditious manner. The JDU l left the mahagathbandhan, which had RJD and Congress as its allies, and joined the BJP to form a government in Bihar on July 27. Kumar’s development agenda — Nitish Ke Saat Nischay (seven resolves of Nitish Kumar) — includes providing power, drinking water and drainage link to every household in the state. But Kumar’s current ally, the BJP, is quick to take credit for development activities in the state. His deputy CM and BJP’s prominent face Sushil Kumar Modi continues to remain an integral part of different programmes, and therefore takes credit as well.
Bihar has six Union ministers from its BJP quota and they keep touring the state to send out a message that their party is committed to the development agenda in the state. However, there’s no Union minister from the JD(U) quota. Kumar also enjoys good equations with local BJP leaders which have brought about a positive impact on the work culture in the state secretariat. But at the same time, he now faces criticism from his former partners, RJD chief Lalu Prasad Yadav and his son Tejwashi Yadav. Also, there are initial signs of resentment among a section of JDU leaders who are allegedly close to senior leader Sharad Yadav.
Recently, two JDU leaders indirectly targeted the CM on reservation issue. So, Kumar quickly introduced reservation in outsourced contractual appointment made by the state government. The Srijan scam, which came to light recently, has also affected the Nitish government.