The adamant stance of Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar continued over the issue of bringing back thousands of stranded Bihari students in Kota, even as the opposition tried to paint it as his callousness. Nitish Kumar has been maintaining that bringing them back would be a gross violation of lockdown provisions. Now with new guidelines from the Ministry of Home Affairs paving the way for the homecoming of the stranded students, labourers, tourists and others, Nitish Kumar was quick to thank the Centre and point out that he was raising the issue for some time. This may not, however, make Nitish a hero overnight. The government was vehemently opposed to the idea of sending transport from the state or making any other arrangements to bring back the stranded students.
The initiative taken by Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath or by the CMs of Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and some other states may have been lauded, that did not change Nitish’s stand. Even as pleading parents had a harrowing time as uncertainty loomed large, Nitish Kumar did nothing to dissipate their fears. The pitch grew louder with every passing day and stories of students’ suffering became public. And even as the government looked unfazed, the opposition seemed to be scoring brownie points on this highly emotive issue.
Nitish started being uncomfortable only when similar demands started coming from within the alliance. Ram Kripal Yadav, a senior BJP leader and MP from Patliputra, issued a statement asking Nitish Kumar to intervene and bring back the stranded students. Nitish Kumar is also being cornered because of the fact that those with power and influence procured passes for movement during the lockdown and brought back their children from Kota.