Karpoori Thakur Government : SVD Ministry’s survival doubtful in Bihar

Frog Jump, cartoon by Hari Om


Young Indian, 22 April 1971

The SVD Ministry in Bihar survived the Budget session of the Assembly meeting in the wake of mid- term parliamentary poll in which the constituents of the SVD suffered a debacle. The question is how long will it last?

At best, it has got a fresh lease of life for two more months. The Assembly is likely to again meet in the middle of May.

The budget session was considered as “crucial” by the political pundits in view of the “unexpected” Congress victory, which was followed by the speculations about large-scale defections from the ruling SVD side, comprising of the SSP, the Congress(O), the Jana Sangh, the Swatantra, the BKD, the Janta Party, one faction of the Hul Jharkhand and the AI Jharkhand (Sumbrai faction).

Moreover, the SVD Government was facing the Assembly for the first time after being inducted in office on December 22 last.

The Congress had made elaborate plans to topple the SVD Ministry. Daroga Rai was made to step down from the leadership of the Bihar Congress Legislature Party, Mr Bhola Paswan Shastri was chosen leader of the Progressive Vidhayak Dal comprising of the Congress, the CPI, the PSP, one faction of the Hul Jharkhand, the Al Jharkhand (More faction) and the Hindusthani Shoshit Dal of Jagdeo Prasad.

But the move of the PVD to dislodge the Ministry was premature and unbusinesslike. The result was that they had to eat the humble pie and withdraw the notion of no confidence motion at the last moment.

No reason for the withdrawal was assigned. But it is not difficult to guess it. The opposition could not muster enough strength and reduce the ruling SVD to a minority.

The toppling experts had banked on regaining the support of the Bagun faction of the Jharkhand Party, the BKD and on sizeable defections from the SSP. Obviously, the calculations did not materialise.

The SVD Ministry headed by Karpoori Thakur of the SSP is now about three and half month’s old. A very long time indeed in the history of Bihar Assembly politics, where ministries fall within three days of their being sworn in.

Strange Bedfellows

How these three and half months have passed is known better to the ‘socialist’ Chief Minister who has had to offer ministership to all and sundry to gather more support or to prevent desertions.

In a pathetic bid to save his Government from imminent downfall, he created a record for having the biggest Ministry in the State. ( The only achievement of the SSP’s non Congressism! ) There are 47 ministers-25 of cabinet ranks and 22 Minister of State level.

But this method of gathering support has created more uncertainty in the mind of the waverers and made them scurry from the sinking ship. This process was given a further fillip by the spectacular victory of the Congress in the mid-term poll in which constituents of the ruling SVD suffered a big set-back.

However, it is speculated that the SSP itself would topple the Ministry after some time because with the passing of days it would find the company it is keeping neither congenial nor helpful for the party, which suffered severe damage in the mid-term poll.

Already powerful dissident voices have been raised within the party against its alignment with the Syndicate-Sangh-Swatantra combine. The more it keeps the present company, the more it will get in public disfavour and the voices within the party against the present rather strange bed fellowship are bound to become more and more strident.

Young Indian, 26 April 1971

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