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Nitish Kumar, a maverick opposition leader who praises PM Modi

Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar has re-established that he belongs to a different political class. In addition to demonetisation, he has lauded Prime Narendra Modi's initiative against benami properties.

Sakshi Chaturvedi

Sakshi ChaturvediBy Sakshi Chaturvedi

Published on 21 Nov 2016 10:38 AM GMT

Nitish Kumar, a maverick opposition leader who praises PM Modi
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Delay in decision by Congress pushed Nitish Kumar towards NDA camp
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Patna: Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar has re-established that he belongs to a different political class. In addition to demonetisation, he has lauded Prime Narendra Modi's initiative against benami properties. Teams have been formed to locate such properties and take action against those who are involved in this racket. What also keeps him apart is that he has not praised him for these actions privately but at a party meeting which was attended by a large number of workers.

Unlike him, all other top opposition leaders have condemned him for making these moves. Some of them are ensuring that two houses of parliament do not function normally and that there is no discussion on the demonetisation issue even though if the government appears to be much in favour of it.

It is noteworthy for another reason too. Nitish had worked in tandem with Modi's Bhartiya Janta Party and formed government in the state with the help of it. He withdrew support later, joined hands with the party's enemy no number one, Lalu Prasad Yadav and contributed largely to the defeat of the party in the recently assembly elections. Still, he chose to go the other way.

Criticism by his own party colleagues for Modi support too has not changed him. This quote underlines it more than anything else. "Prime Minister Modi is now riding a tiger which could damage his alliances, but there's great sentiment in favour of his move and we should respect that," said maverick chief minister here on Sunday.

Contrary to him, all other opposition leaders have called the move anti-poor which has caused a lot of hardships to the common people in the country due to cash shortage at different banks and Automatic Teller Machines. Modi had foreseen these problems and urged people to be ready for them for at least 50 days. But this has not deterred the opposition from attacking him.

What also stands out is that he has been one of his worst critics in the past still he has not made a secret of his love for this move. Other point of view is that since banned notes accounted for 86 per cent of the notes in circulation , Modi's decision to scrap them without making proper alternative arrangement has created what was expected---cash-crunch. According to them, rural people especially farmers in those areas have been hit hard, although the government has allowed them to purchase farm inputs from the banned notes for the time being.

Nitish , unlike others, now seems to believe in healthy criticism-- praising what needs to be praised. It may be a game changer.

Sakshi Chaturvedi

Sakshi Chaturvedi

A journalist, presently working as a Sub-Editor at newstrack.com.

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