Bihar JD(U) leader bats for Right to Bribe: Has corruption become party’s new ideology?

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Nitish Kumar with Jitan Ram Manjhi
Days after Bihar Chief Minister Jitan Ram Manjhi caused discomfiture to the ruling JD(U) by saying corruption rules the roost in Bihar's government offices, a JD(U) legislator has now brought further humiliation to the dispensation by proposing to legalize corruption. The senior JD(U) leader went a step ahead saying he'll introduce a private member's bill in the Bihar Assembly for the same.

As per a Hindustan Times report, Rajiv Ranjan who is a senior MLA from the ruling JD(U) said, "The fair thing to do in the prevailing situation is to legislate and adopt a new law by the name of Right to Bribe, on the lines of RTI and right to service (RTS)."

The report said that the lawmaker's extreme demand was driven out of frustration and anger as the Bihar government is unable to control corruption.

"If you can't rein in corruption, you should legalise it", argued Ranjan, MLA from Islampur assembly seat in Nalanda district - which is former chief minister Nitish Kumar's backyard.

What had Bihar CM said about rampant corruption?

Addressing a batch of rural development officials at a function Jitan Ram Manjhi had said, "I have no qualms in admitting that corruption prevails in the official machinery from top to bottom. As a citizen, I can say with experience that no work gets done in government offices right upto block level without offering bribe to officials and employees..."

In an attempt to overcome Nitish Kumar's shadow Manjhi even criticised the former Bihar CM for failing to curb rampant corruption in the state.

Legalising corruption isn't the solution

But, one cannot buy such baseless suggestions from lawmakers even if it comes out of frustration. It will set wrong precedent as it will patronize the practice of bribery and rampant corruption prevalent in the society. This will only send a bad signal that the administration simply doesn't want to abolish this evil practice.

Legalising corruption would also ruin the poor's chances of getting his work done in any government office for a poor won't be able to shell out extra money.

Corruption is an epidemic which has corroded India's very foundation and economy. Bihar has been one of the worst hit states due to this endemic. The state witnessed dark ages under Lalu Prasad Yadav's 15-year-rule when not a single file moved without bribing the officials. People had to sell their properties to get justice. It was the time when the term ‘corruption' was synonymous to Lalu and Bihar. Due to government's ‘eating' attitude bribing became a daily affair in the state.

It will dampen JD(U)'s by-poll prospects

Suggestions of legalising bribing only sends a message that the law and order situation in the state has gone into a tizzy and the state cannot curb this evil. Such kind of suggestions will only dampen the party's image among voters'.

Has corruption become JD(U)’s new ideology?

Ranjan's suggestions will further diminish JD(U)'s prospects ahead of by-polls which is already facing credibility crisis in the state. Ever since the party forged alliance with Lalu's RJD, there is also confusion in the minds of people of Bihar whether they must go with the ruling party. People in Bihar are skeptical over Nitish-Lalu bonhomie as they fear the ‘Jungle raj' under the two would once again haunt the state.

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