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How Sushil Kumar Modi made invaluable contributions to BJP’s rise in Bihar. 5 points

Prime Minister Narendra Modi was among the first politicians to express condolences on Sushil Modi’s demise, hailing him for playing ‘an invaluable role in the rise and success of BJP in Bihar.’ 

Man behind BJP’s rise in Bihar

Sushil Modi is often credited for the saffron party’s ascendance in Bihar, becoming the state’s tallest leader of the BJP after Kailashpati Mishra, the former Finance Minister of Bihar. 

Also Read: Sushil Kumar Modi dies: PM Modi condoles ‘untimely demise’; Amit Shah says void in Bihar politics cannot be filled

The BJP’s rise in Bihar began when it emerged as the principal Opposition party in 1995. Twenty-five years later, it became the second-largest party in the 2020 Bihar assembly elections, with 74 seats in the 243-member state assembly.

Currently, the saffron party’s numbers in the Bihar assembly exceed that of Chief Minister Nitish Kumar-led Janata Dal (United), which has 43 members. Nonetheless, Nitish Kumar remains the Chief Minister of the state’s National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government.  

Three-decade-long political career

Sushil Modi entered active politics in 1990 and successfully contested the assembly election from the now-abolished Patna Central Assembly seat. He was re-elected in 1995 and 2000. 

In 2004, he was elected from the Bhagalpur Lok Sabha seat. However, in 2005, he resigned from the Lok Sabha and took over as the Deputy Chief Minister of Bihar under Chief Minister Nitish Kumar. He was given the Finance Portfolio along with other departments. After the NDA victory in the 2010 Bihar assembly polls, Sushil continued as the state’s Deputy Chief Minister. 

Sushil Modi-Nitish Kumar ties

Sushil Modi was instrumental in establishing BJPs’ ties with Nitish Kumar in Bihar. He served as the Deputy Chief Minister of Bihar for about 11 years in two stints, first from November 2005 to June 2013 and then again from July 2017 to December 2020. During these two terms, Sushil established a strong rapport with Nitish Kumar.

“It’s a personal loss for me. We were together during the JP Movement. His death has created a vacuum in the political arena of the country as well as in Bihar,” Nitish said in his condolence message for his former colleague.  

Also Read: Sushil Kumar Modi, BJPs’ strongman in Bihar, no more: A profile

Sushil Modi emerged as one of the prominent figures of the JP Movement in Bihar, alongside former Chief Minister Lalu Prasad and Nitish Kumar. Their association traces back to the JP Movement, where they first came in touch.

Nitish Kumar had often expressed regret over the sidelining of his trusted former deputy, who was shifted to Delhi with a Rajya Sabha berth in 2020.

The JP Movement leader

The JP movement, also known as the Bihar movement, refers to a political uprising initiated by students against misrule and corruption in the Bihar government in 1974. The movement was led by the veteran socialist Jayaprakash Narayan, popularly known as JP.

Lalu called Sushil a friend of “51-52 years since our Patna University days” while condoling his death. “He was a committed and devoted leader,” the RJD chief said.

Born in a Vaishya family in Bihar, Sushil Modi got involved in student politics while pursuing his BSc at Patna University. In the later years, he went on to become one of the prominent leaders of the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), the student wing of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS).

Petitioner in Fodder Scam

After Yashwant Sinha resigned as Leader of Opposition in 1996, Sushil Modi took charge and single-handedly took on the RJD, according to a report in the Indian Express. Sushil Modi was one of the five petitioners in the fodder scam in which Lalu Prasad Yadav was convicted.

Sushil Modi often took pride in having been one of the litigants in the petition on which the Patna High Court ordered that the infamous fodder scam be investigated by the CBI, which later submitted a charge sheet forcing Lalu Prasad to step down in 1997, but only to replace himself with his wife, Rabri Devi.

Sushil Modi was the leader of the opposition in the Bihar assembly till 2004, when he was elected to the Lok Sabha from Bhagalpur. A year later, however, the RJD-Congress combine was routed in the state assembly polls, and Sushil Modi was back in Bihar as the deputy to Chief Minister Nitish Kumar. He was also made BJP President of the Bihar unit.

In April 2024, Sushil Modi announced his inability to participate in the  Lok Sabha election 2024 due to his battle with cancer.

(With PTI inputs)


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Published: 14 May 2024, 10:43 AM IST

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