The pandemic — and the efficiency with which the Nitish Kumar government has responded to it — is now increasingly seen as a factor that may become an electoral issue, as Bihar is set to face assembly polls in October.
It is obvious and inevitable, as a crisis is unfolding in the leadup to the State assembly elections. On Wednesday Chief Minister Kumar spoke on the efforts his government has made — from spending over Rs 8,538 crore to provide relief to vulnerable residents, to making all efforts of providing employment for over two million residents who have returned from other states — he conveyed his government’s actions. Indeed, as Kumar has remained the fulcrum of the state response, he has been seen as the general guiding the only frontline combatants visible in the war against Covid-19.
Since March last week when Covid crisis hit Bihar, one of the first impacts of it was seen when the private healthcare institutions withdrew their services. The social sectors too registered just a negligible presence and the politicians were forced to remain indoors owing to both lockdown and virus threat.
It has been only the state government— represented by doctors, nurses, health workers and public servants in the field and Chief Minister Kumar along with select bureaucrats at the top, taking policy decision, making funds available, monitoring progress and delivering help to the vulnerable — that has been seen fighting the Covid crisis. “Bihar is still in the midst of a pandemic and the crisis it has heaped upon all of us. I am not talking about elections, but we all know that people need reassurance, stability and a credible leadership of Nitish Kumar to spearhead Bihar out of it,” said Ashok Choudhary, a cabinet minister in state government.
As the Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Wednesday delivered his 50.35-minute long address to the elected representatives of Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRIs) and urban local bodies ULBs), Didis of Jeevika’s self-help groups and other stakeholders through video-conferencing, the webcast was seen by over 12.70 lakh people, said Information and Public Relation Secretary Anupam Kumar.
It was a quintessential Nitish Kumar moment when the Chief Minister put his best foot forward by once again establishing his government’s preparedness, ability and credential to take Bihar out of this crisis. No wonder, Nitish Kumar has remained the fulcrum of Bihar politics since his party defeated Lalu Prasad’s RJD in the 2005 assembly polls. From then to 2019, Bihar has seen four Assembly and three Lok Sabha polls. And barring the 2014 Lok Sabha election the winner had Nitish by his side in six of those seven elections.
(Courtesy of Mail Today)