Nitish Kumar and Narendara Modi

There was an article about Nitish Kumar in a recent issue of Time. Reading it gave way to this question: What are the chances of Nitish becoming the next Prime Minister, even if NDA were to win? Ten percent? Twenty percent? On the other hand, what are the chances of Modi becoming the PM? Eighty? Or is it hundred?
The point here is, despite the backing of a few English media houses Nitish Kumar does not appear to enjoy any backing from any national-level institutions. Modi has BJP and RSS and VHP and Bajrang Dal. And probably Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh, the trade union outfit affiliated with RSS and hundreds of fringe Hindu organisations across India. Not to mention the negative campaign launched by the whole media that had actually ended up making him a household name.
Odds aside, who would make a better PM? That’s to be waited and watched. But speculating on this thought, India might benefit immensely from Nitish Kumar’s premiership. Modi may be the most celebrated (and most loathed) Chief Minister but there are several factors that favour Nitish.
First off there is no taint of pogrom on Nitish. He may come across as one of the pseudo-secular leaders, but who would you vote, a pseudo-secular or a pseudo-communal? Regardless of the allegations on his collusion, some of the statements Modi made during the riots and his reaction afterwards are reprehensible and there is still no sign of him admitting to erring, not about collusion but about even not dispensing justice. Ten years and only recently there are people being convicted and many questions still hang in the air. Nitish Kumar, on the other hand, is one of the pseudo-seculars who can be expected to play inclusive even if that would seem like ‘conceding’ to the ‘aggressive minority’. About that one thing we need to understand here. There are NO minority in India. Christians, who constitute 2.3% of the population, are more than 24 million people, meaning there are more Christians in India than there are Australians in the world. So India, in effect, is multiple countries so there’s only so much of ‘melting pot’ that can happen which means we’re not really ‘conceding’ but making structural and federal adjustments to different ‘countries’ within India. So we need a person who understands this, even implicitly, or even if it appears like he is playing vote-bank politics.
Secondly, about the transformation these leaders achieved in their respective states: Modi’s plank was mainly business growth and the GDP. And Nitish Kumar’s achievement was law & order and infrastructure. Which ones do we need for today’s India? What more do we need to do for encouraging business growth than what we’re not doing already? Coming to think of it, we need our rulers to actually ‘discourage’ business houses. Discourage them from plundering our lands, from plundering our mines, from throwing out our adivasis, from their unbridled lust for capitalism, however beneficial that might be to the famed GDP. Perhaps Nitish Kumar’s background in socialism will help in keeping the much needed check on them.
Thirdly, the very comparison with Modi and Nitish might be a bit lopsided. In the sense, let’s assume this metaphor. If you are a teacher and you have to train a state-ranked student from CBSE board for IIT entrance. How difficult is it to do that? And let’s say you have to train a non-English medium state-board student, who failed his 7th class, to pass his higher secondary. How difficult is that? Now map this metaphor to Gujarat and Bihar. Gujarat has always been known for business-minded people who had a penchant for entrepreneurship. We had Gujaratis who excelled in business even during the Licence Raj. But Bihar was an epitome of everything that was wrong about India. Poverty, natural calamities, caste wars, feudalism, illiteracy, female infanticide, bad roads, bandits, you name it Bihar had it. And it was written off by almost everybody. The fact that somebody managed to make Gujarat excel in business is commendable but it’s not an impossible achievement. But for somebody to have gotten Bihar out of its mess and, what the heck, even into the pages of Time magazine is near magic act. And this person was able t pull off such a feat without tiring rhetoric or without ridiculing or alienating any specific community is something nobody thought would ever happen in India. And we need such person at the helm of affairs nationally. And to be given free reign. If Modi comes to centre, the GDP may skyrocket to 15% or even 20% but god help if you’re an adivasi or, if you are from a minority community. You may have to constantly be watchful of skirmishes in any railway station.