Is the Nitish Kumar's popularity fading? Nitish Kumar was being seen as the great hope of Bihar, the man who put the state wrecked by Lalu Prasad on the path of recovery. Mr Kumar inherited a state crumbling under corruption, an almost complete absence of law and order, casteist violence fed by abject poverty and no solution in sight. Just months after he won, Nitish began to show that he was willing to talk a different language, putting development, the rule of law and fixing the state's lack of investments and growth opportunities. But now, into the seventh year of his second consecutive term as chief minister, has the Nitish magic started to fade? The questions being asked: are the people in Bihar beginning to get impatient and want more and want it quicker? Or did it work in his favour that the state in such bad shape, he was able to project the image of development by dusting a few corners? That dust looks like it might be settling back and obscure his record. Lately, the cheers for him have been replaced by jeers. And they come at a crucial juncture. The CM is going across the state to address rallies and meetings and gather support for his demand for extra financial aid from the Centre. At virtually every rally, he has been greeted by protests, black flags and even a slipper or two thrown at him. In the last rally in Nawada three days ago, the crowds flung footwear and plastic chairs in the air to protest. Most of the protests are by more than three lakh teachers on contract, who are demanding regularisation and pay equal to permanently-employed government teachers. For the government, it means hiking their pay from the current Rs. 6-10 thousand to Rs. 30-40 thousand. The protesters are understood to have the backing of Mr Kumar's main rival, Lalu Prasad, who is still smarting from the crushing defeat that put him out of power. The protests have been so vocal and persistent that Mr Kumar, normally calm and measured in public, to react sharply at one rally, telling the protesters that his party activists will "deal with them" if they try to take the law in their hands. The protests though followed him through the state, rattling Mr Kumar enough for him to reportedly ban black flags and even black clothes in his rallies. At a Khagaria rally, when protesters looked like they would attack Mr Kumar's vehicle, the husband of an MLA snatched a policeman's carbine and threatened the crowd with it. In a clear signal to protesters, the government suspended several policemen, but no action has been taken against the MLA's husband. The demonstrations have had some effect clearly, because Mr Kumar finally reached out to them in a meeting at Aurangabad and promised to look into their demands. But it's more than just teachers wanting permanent jobs. There is a rising perception that government officers do not move without bribes. And there is also a growing frustration with the law and order situation in the state. And there is also a growing frustration with the law and order situation in the state. People are also fed up with poor electricity situation coupled with this rampant corruption in the lower level of the bureaucracy. Though state elections are still three years away, the CM is on the defensive. The protests and growing frustration of unmet expectations of a state that has just begun savour development that large parts of the country now take for granted is like a wake-up call for Mr Kumar.