Karpoori Thakur, the late Chief Minister of Bihar, was posthumously conferred with the prestigious Bharat Ratna by the President of India, Droupadi Murmu, in an evening ceremony. This acknowledgment comes 35 years after Thakur’s demise on February 17, 1988, marking a pivotal moment in Bihar’s political history.
Known as the “Jan Nayak” by many in the state, Karpoori Thakur held the position of Chief Minister twice, from December 1970 to June 1971 and then again from December 1977 to April 1979, making him the first non-Congress Chief Minister of Bihar. The long-awaited recognition of the state’s leader fulfills a persistent demand from the current Chief Minister, Nitish Kumar, and his Janata Dal United party.
Timing of Bharat Ratna 2024 to Karpoori Thakur Raise Eyebrows
The timing of this honor, just before the general elections, raises eyebrows and is perceived as a strategic move to appease Nitish Kumar, who holds sway in a state with 40 parliamentary seats and a fluctuating relationship with the BJP. Nitish Kumar expressed his sentiments, stating, “This highest honor to late Karpoori Thakur ji on his 100th birth anniversary will create positive sentiments among the Dalits, deprived, and neglected sections.”
Nitish Kumar’s political journey has been marked by alliances and realignments, notably breaking away from the NDA ahead of the 2014 general elections but returning in 2017. His recent exit less than two years ago, forming a government with a new alliance encompassing all parties in Bihar, left the BJP in a challenging position. The BJP’s isolation has further solidified the implications of today’s Bharat Ratna announcement.
Karpoori Thakur, a representative of the Other Backward Castes, adds a layer to the unfolding political narrative. Many observers view this move as the BJP’s strategic effort to secure the allegiance of this section, traditionally loyal to Nitish Kumar. The conferral of Bharat Ratna to Thakur may influence the political dynamics in Bihar, as parties position themselves for the upcoming elections.
This latest development not only honors the legacy of Karpoori Thakur but also introduces a new dimension to the political landscape of Bihar, where alliances and identity politics play a crucial role. The Bharat Ratna award serves as a symbol not only of recognition but also of the intricate web of political maneuvers in the lead-up to the elections.