New Delhi: As Narendra Modi consolidates his national position, his rival, Bihar’s Nitish Kumar, is falling behind, getting shrill, and making mistakes. The extension of Nitish Kumar’s “Adhikar Yatra” to Delhi, resulting in a show of force of 50,000 of the Bihar chief minister’s supporters from the Capital and elsewhere, was a tactical misstep. Delhi understands the power of numbers but of a different kind, the quantum of Lok Sabha seats won, and Nitish Kumar is vulnerable there. He is scarcely his own man, being head of a coalition government in Bihar which has the Bharatiya Janata Party as the principal partner. Rather than nesting with the bird in hand, metaphorically speaking, Nitish Kumar is chasing phantom Aves in the poison bush.

Sadly for him, Nitish Kumar has lost his way.

In contrast, Narendra Modi is working the ropes organically. Whilst Nitish Kumar has drafted perfumed networkers like N.K.Singh and Pawan Verma to open doors in Delhi, Modi is his own ambassador, letting no one and nothing beyond his work to speak on his behalf. A friend casually informed this writer of Aajtak channel’s breathtaking build-up of Modi in the past week, and not being a television-watcher, there was only his lavish praise to go by. The friend is not a journalist but in the corporate sector, sensitive and as middle-class as you and I, and concerned about the country’s precipitate decline under Sonia Gandhi and Manmohan Singh. He couldn’t cease in his laudation of Narendra Modi’s spectacular achievement.

Do you think the Gujarat chief minister has somehow managed and manipulated this rapid rise outside his state?

Not a chance.

Modi is on his own. Neither is the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangha assisting him nor the Vishwa Hindu Parishad, and certainly not the Central leaders of the Bharatiya Janata Party. To look for orthodox reasons for his wondrous growth is to court bewilderment and defeat. Narendra Modi has done what has to be done in Gujarat, he craves to do more, and that is his sole advertisement. He doesn’t need to show force with a rally in Ramlila Ground to prove his worth. His work speaks for him.

On the other hand, Nitish Kumar has reached a plateau. After Laloo Prasad Yadav, he represents a change. He has improved law-and-order in Bihar and incentivized girls’ education; highway and road connectivity within the state is praiseworthy. But electricity and water shortages are endemic, and the state has been unable to recover from the separation of industrialized and mineral-rich Jharkhand. Yet, the solution is not special status. If any province needs extra care and attention, for being so wronged and blighted by history, it is West Bengal. If Bengal returns to high growth and prosperity, and Calcutta flourishes once again as a major port city, the rising tide will lift Bihar, Orissa, Eastern Uttar Pradesh and the North East. It cannot be gainsaid, however, that Bihar needs to stand on its feet, and be responsible for its future. No amount of special funding will help. Indeed, doles will dissuade Bihar from undertaking the struggles that bring success.

India’s salvation lies in turning more and more entrepreneurial, in becoming the cat of all colour, culture, caste and creed, to twist Deng Xiaoping’s famous aphorism, which catches the mice. India needs to manufacture not just to supply to the vast domestic market, but to become a net exporter to the world, which Narendra Modi’s political economic genius will make happen. Modi’s success does not come from textbooks of economics, in which case Manmohan Singh should have been a grand success, not the gross failure he is. Narendra Modi’s model is the Gujarati/ Indian prototype of self-help and self-respect, whereas Nitish Kumar bases his politics on whingeing. Indians will sacrifice for a good cause, but Nitish Kumar has metamorphosed into a scary and repulsive redistributionist. Bihar is not the first state to be discriminated by the United Progressive Alliance regime at the Centre. Look at J.Jayalalithaa’s Tamil Nadu or Punjab or Karnataka. Gujarat is the particular target of the Centre’s step-motherly treatment. It is denied natural gas, a fair share of coal, but manages splendidly by raising its own resources and by innovation. What prevents Nitish Kumar from doing the same?

If Nitish Kumar wants to truck with the Congress, that is his call. If he ends up a political cipher like Laloo Yadav, he is to blame. If he breaks with the Bharatiya Janata Party in Bihar, he faces ruin. But like it or not, Narendra Modi is on a winning track. India is getting around to accepting the idea of Modi as prime minister. If Nitish Kumar wants to be part of the trend, that is to the good. If not, he should prepare for a life in the political wilderness. It may even make him sensible.