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The Bind in Bihar: the challenges ahead for Nitish Kumar

Nitish Kumar may find it hard to avoid a choice between power and principle (THE HINDU)

An alliance forged out of immediate self-interest as opposed to shared, long-term goals allows only for fleeting moments of togetherness. The very same high-risk political strategising that drove Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar into the arms of Rashtriya Janata Dal chief Lalu Prasad is now forcing him to hurriedly disentangle from the tight embrace. Slowly, but surely, Mr. Kumar is building pressure on Mr. Prasad’s son, Tejaswi Yadav, to step down as Deputy Chief Minister following CBI searches that point to him being a beneficiary of political corruption. Mr. Kumar would like two things: keep his government going with the help of the RJD, and, at the same time, protect his own image as a clean politician who will not compromise on the issue of corruption. But with the RJD adamant that Mr. Yadav will not quit as Minister, the Chief Minister might have to make up his mind on taking another political gamble. Mr. Kumar and his party, the Janata Dal (United), have remained in power in Bihar for nearly 12 years, initially in alliance with the BJP and later in alliance with the RJD. During that time, some of his political gambles have failed to pay off, as in the 2014 Lok Sabha election, when his decision to break the alliance with the BJP worked to the latter’s advantage. The JD(U) leader creates his own space in Bihar, beyond a Kurmi caste-base and on a distinct platform that views corruption and communalism as twin evils that have to be fought one at a time. At any point, one or the other is always a lesser evil. Depending on whether the BJP or the RJD is his primary rival, communalism or corruption becomes his main focus. When Mr. Kumar broke away from the BJP in 2014, he was trying to do a Naveen Patnaik, ditch an ally and take over its political space. But unlike Mr. Patnaik in 2009, Mr. Kumar failed miserably, yielding substantial ground to the BJP in 2014. But if an appetite for political risk that makes enemies of friends is his weakness, a readiness to build new alliances with old foes is his strength.

But there are limits to the room for political manoeuvre available for Mr. Kumar. While a tough stand against the RJD on the issue of corruption might enhance his popularity, there is no certainty that he will survive as Chief Minister. Once bitten, twice shy, the BJP might not be all too keen to revive an alliance. A three-way contest will work to the advantage of the BJP, and the party would much rather look forward to a mid-term Assembly election than serve as a crutch for the JD(U). At present, there is little Mr. Kumar can do other than to hope that the RJD would oblige him by agreeing to the axing of Mr. Yadav. Mr. Kumar might risk leading another political churning in Bihar, but that certainly is not his first option in the current crisis. There is too much at stake, but sadly for him the RJD knows he has more to lose than gain by standing on principle.

IMPORTANT WORDS FROM ARTICLE & THEIR MEANING


1)Fleeting (adjective)  (क्षणभंगुर) : flee-ting
Meaning - occurring for only a brief time
Synonyms -transient ,momentary , short-lived
Antonyms - perpetual, everlasting, enduring
Example -During the winter months, we are happy to get a fleeting day of warm temperatures.

2)Disentangle  (verb) (सुलझाना):  dis-en-tang-gull
Meaning - to untangle something
Synonyms:  unravel, free, untie
Antonyms - entangle, twist, complicate
Example - As we walked through the jungle, we stopped several times todisentangle ourselves from the hanging vines.
3) Churn (noun) (मंथन): Churn
Meaning -  messed up state
Synonyms -agitate, swirl
Antonyms - unruffled, embed, freeze
Example -The restaurant scene is a never-ending churn of openings and closings.

4) Manoeuvred (verb )(पैंतरेबाज़ी): muh-noo-ver
Meaning -a movement or series of moves requiring skill and care.
Synonyms -  controlled, functioned, intrigued
Example -He manoeuvred the car rapidly and avoided the truck.

5) Crutch(noun)   (बैसाखी): kruhch
Meaning - a long stick with a crosspiece at the top, used as a support under the armpit by a lame person.
Synonyms - support, prop, bolster
Antonyms -afflict, devastate
Example - He is almost like and emotional crutch for me.
6)Oblige(verb ) (सहायता):  ouh-blahyj
Meaning -perform a good deed for someone
Synonyms - require, compel,necessitate
Antonyms - disobey, disappoint
Example - If you would like to see certain things on your tour, please tell the guide so she can oblige your requests if time permits.

7) Yield (verb) ( आत्मसमर्पण):  eeld
Meaning - to bow out
Synonyms - relinquish, surrender, hand over
Antonyms - deny, defend
Example - Since I do not know a great deal about the subject, I will yieldthis question to my well-informed colleague.

8) Axe (verb) ( हटाना ): axe
Meaning -end, cancel or dismiss suddenly and ruthlessly.
Synonyms - terminate, drop, abandon.
Antonyms -keep, defend, acquire
Example -The project has been axed because it's simply too expensive to run.
9) Ditch (verb) ( छोड़ देना  ): dich
Meaning -get rid of or give up.
Synonyms -leaveabandon; drop.
Antonyms -hold, stay, togetherness
Example: Plans for the hill station have been ditched seeing the heavy rain.

10) Myriad  (Noun)  - अनगिनत
Meaning -a countless or extremely great number of people or things.
Synonyms: Infinite, endless, numberless
Antonyms - bounded, calculable, limited
Example (English) - The country was still marked by extremes of wealth and poverty, and by myriad social conflicts. 
Example (Hindi) - देश तब भी धन और गरीबी की अति और अनगिनत सामाजिक संघर्षों से ग्रस्त था।

Assume this article as a Reading Comprehension and try to answer the following questions-
  • What do you understand by the phrase "Once bitten, twice shy," as mentioned in the passage?
  • Why the author had said that there is no certainty that Nitish Kumar will survive as Chief Minister?
Try to make sentences with these words in the comment section which will be reviewed by us.
  • Appetite
  • Bind
  • Ally
  • Compromise
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