Patna: Dozens of posters declaring Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar as “missing” sprang up in Bihar’s capital city, Patna, on Tuesday, taunting his “total silence” on the amended Citizenship Act (CAA) and the National Register of Citizens (NRC).
Colourful posters in Hindi surfaced at several places in the heart of Patna, urging people to search for the Chief Minister, who has been “missing” even as protests against CAA mount across the country.
After the posters targeting Nitish Kumar surfaced, top brass of the state administration, include police officers, went into a tizzy to find out who was behind this. The posters seem to have been pasted either late Monday night or in wee hours of Tuesday. There is no name of any party, organisation or individual on the posters.
The state police, meanwhile, have begun an investigation to find out who the people behind posters targeting the Chief Minister are.
Interestingly, Nitish Kumar, who is also president of the Janata Dal-United, an ally of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is yet to break his silence over CAA and NRC despite widespread protests against it across Bihar and the country since the past week. In fact, Nitish Kumar has been busy visiting different parts of the state during his Jal Jeevan Hariyali Yatra, which is underway, to reach out to people ahead of 2020 Bihar Assembly polls, but has skirted any comment on the CAA protests.
However, JD-U voted in favour of the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill (CAB) in both Houses of Parliament. It is a different matter thought that party national vice-president, Prashant Kishor, had publicly opposed the party’s support to CAB. He had reportedly even offered to resign from his post after which he was assured by none other than Nitish Kumar that the NRC would not be implemented in Bihar. But, many, including the minorities, are apprehensive about this promise.
Opposition Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) leader, Tejashwi Yadav, targeted Nitish Kumar after the appearance of these posters, mocking his silence over CAA and NRC. “Munh par tala, Kaan pe jaala, Aankh pe Patti, Nahi ata pata, Wo lapata, CAB-NRC par maun, Bujho kaun” (Lock on Lips and Ears, Eyes Blindfolded, No Whereabouts, Silent on CAA/NRC, Guess Who?) Tejashwi tweeted a riddle on Tuesday.
Even common people on the streets raised eyebrows over Nitish Kumar’s silence over such an important issue.
”Nitish Kumar is no longer a leader with any stand of his own. One day he says something, another day something else. He has lost political credibility after switching sides (to BJP). What will he say on CAA, as he is under the BJP’s grip. He can no longer speak like he did in the past, said Lakhendar Prasad, who runs a roadside teashop near Gandhi Maidan here.
Neyaz Ahmad, a general store owner, said “we hardly expect anything from Nitish Kumar, as he is supporting the agenda of BJP. He has lost his secular face after his party supported CAB”.
A few metres away from this teashop, Nagendar Rai, a thelawala (cart-puller), resting on a semi-clouded winter afternoon, said Nitish Kumar had lost the charm of his image due to the political compromises he had made. ”It is BJP that controls Nitish Kumar. What will he say? That’s why he is keeping silent”.
Meanwhile, protests against CAA and NRC continued in Bihar on Tuesday. Reports of protests kept pouring from different districts. The Left parties have called for a statewide bandh on December 19, while the RJD will observe a shutdown on December 21 against the controversial Act.