The Telegraph
Wednesday , March 25 , 2015

Salute to decades of political service

Asian Development Research Institute director PP Ghosh felicitates chief minister Nitish Kumar on the completion of 30 years of his legislative career in Patna on Tuesday. Picture by Nagendra Kumar Singh

Patna, March 24: Susashan Babu, as chief minister Nitish Kumar is widely referred to for resurrecting Bihar from the plunge of lawlessness nearly 10 years ago, has completed 30 years of legislative career.

Asian Development Research Institute (Adri) felicitated him for his political feat today. Nitish had begun his career as a lawmaker by winning his home Assembly seat, Harnaut, on March 6, 1985.

A youth leader during Jayaprakash Narayan-led Sampoorna Kranti (Total Revolution) in the '70s, Nitish suffered electoral reverses at the outset of his political career. He lost two Assembly elections (1977 and 1980) from Harnaut successively.

But once he became an MLA from Harnaut there was no looking back for him. He went on to win the Lok Sabha polls for six consecutive terms from Barh and Nalanda, heading several key ministries at the Centre, including the Railways, before becoming the Bihar chief minister in 2005.

Today, he is known by various names such as Vikash Purush, Susashan Babu and Chanakya of Bihar politics among others. In celebration of the three decades of Nitish's legislative career, Patna-Adri organised a felicitation ceremony for him on the institute premises today.

Noted personalities, including JDU MP Pawan Varma, vice-chancellors of Magadh and Patna Universities Mohammed Ishtiyaque and Y.C. Simhadri and Dr A.A. Hai, director, Paras HMRI Hospital, were among the many who had participated at the event.

While Nitish accepted his felicitation with modesty, he also used the platform to slam the Centre over the issue of the recent attacks on churches. Without directly naming either Prime Minister Narendra Modi or the NDA government at the Centre, Nitish said: "If the faith of people and places of devotion are attacked, it is not a good sign for the country. It shows instability in the society. The recent incidents in this regard at different places in the country are bad. Unity in diversity is one of the fundamental principles of our Constitution. It is easier to form and run a government but running a country is a complex task." Sources said Nitish was referring to the recent attacks on churches. "You might win the election but you must have a broad-vision and mindset to ensure harmony in the society," said Nitish.

Elaborating on his legislative career over the past three decades, Nitish seemed most fond about his role as a parliamentarian during the 10th Lok Sabha (1991-1996), followed by the 11th Lok Sabha (1996-1998). "If anyone asks me today when I felt most content as a legislator in my career, my answer would be the 10th Lok Sabha. During that time, I got the opportunity to work most actively in Parliament from the Opposition. The 10th Lok Sabha completed its full term and I used to regularly raise questions in the sessions and got praised as well. I was in the Opposition in the 11th Lok Sabha as well but it was dissolved after two years," said Nitish.

Highlighting the two speeches most close to him throughout his career, Nitish said: "The most memorable speech for me was the one I gave in the Lok Sabha during the motion against the government soon after the demolition of Babri Masjid (1992). I spoke with high level of energy and everyone in the House had praised me. The second one was during the debate on the no-confidence motion faced by then Prime Minister H.D. Deve Gowda in the Lok Sabha (April 11, 1997). Even then, my speech was widely praised."

Speaking on the initial hiccups in his career, Nitish said: "I had lost my first two Assembly elections in Bihar (in 1977 and 1980) and I won in 1985, when everyone else in the Opposition was losing. When I was contesting for the Harnaut constituency in my third Vidhan Sabha election, I had said 'If I lose again, I would be in politics but would not contest elections. Many people had cried during the speech."

The event at the Adri premises started with a welcome speech by institute member-secretary Shaibal Gupta, who compared Nitish with Nehru. "Though Nitish was not a Nehruite, he had striking similarities when it came to vision, erudition and eye for details. Many considered him subaltern Nehru and they have common streaks of being Idea- Smith. While Nehru scripted the Idea of India, Nitish is giving shape to the Idea of Bihar," said Gupta.

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