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Bihar elections A show of marvel

Updated: December 11, 2010 1:41 pm

The people of Bihar, having buried the cynical evil of caste politics deep down the ground, have scripted a new chapter in the state assembly elections. It is a clear mandate for performance and not promises. The JD(U)-BJP combine’s victory wasn’t unexpected but the scale of the opposition rout certainly came as a surprise. Even the JD(U)-BJP alliance might not have thought of such landslide win in Bihar, which suggests that Nitish Kumar’s agenda of development and governance has trumped the entrenched caste and identity management-based political history of the state. To that extent, the assembly poll result has a significance that extends well beyond the boundaries of Bihar. The extent of defeat of the Opposition substantiates the fact that the enmeshing of crime, clans, caste and communalism, which had defined Bihar’s politics for long, giving the state the reputation of being an electoral badland, has started waning, which is a welcome result.

                It is really a triumph of the people of Bihar. One hopes that they would never ever go back the Lalu way or the Congress way and always choose the way of development. Congress and Lalu ruled the state for 58 years on a diet of promises without ever delivering. Hence in the process ruined it beyond imagination. That people have now reposed their faith in development-oriented politics is a great sign. This is the biggest victory in an assembly election anywhere in the country in the recent times and particularly in Bihar in 26 years, when Congress got over 200 seats in 1984 riding a sympathy wave after Indira Gandhi’s assassination. The House then had a strength of 324 in the undivided Bihar. Now the Opposition stood completely demolished, as RJD, which ruled Bihar continuously for over 15 years till 2005, reduced to just 22 seats from its 2005 tally of 54. Its alliance partner LJP led by Ram Vilas Paswan is down at 3 from 10. Congress failed to even retain its seats, as it got only four seats. RJD’s humiliation was complete when Lalu Prasad’s wife Rabri Devi, who was Leader of Opposition in the outgoing House, lost in both the constituencies she contested. Likewise, its ally LJP chief Paswan’s two brothers were made to bite the dust. Though the JD(U)-BJP alliance is the winner, it is to be noted that it is Nitish Kumar’s development agenda that has demonstrated that the caste arithmetic of rivals RJD and LJP will not work beyond a point. That is a lesson political parties must learn, and indeed, try to emulate. For, Bihar, which was once dubbed a basket case, will now be the test laboratory of developmental politics minus the casteist agenda and minus the ‘die-nasty’ politics.

                The JD(U) won 115 seats, an increase of 27 seat. BJP’s 91 seats [in fact two BJP rebel candidates denied nomination to accommodate the JD(U) won as independents] out of 102 seem incredible by any standards. Most interesting feature of the Bihar elections is that out of 91 seats that BJP won 39 seats were located in Muslim-dominated areas. This means that Nitish has been able to transfer Muslim votes en-masse to BJP. Even BJP has moved near the minorities and has to a large extent been able to allay fears in the minds of the Muslims. Most of the important portfolios held by BJP ministers performed inclusively and not selectively, as done by Lalu and his likes. BJP should try now to apply Bihar model in other parts of the India. Though the so-called secular media will go on harping on Modi verses Nitish factor but both CMs have consolidated in their own states. Modi in Gujarat and Nitish in Bihar are able to get Muslim votes. Even now the so-called secular media is beating breasts that Modi could not enter Bihar. This shows the bias of ‘secular’ media against NDA and love for UPA. Although Nira Radia tapes as thrown in the realm of public domain by an English weekly conclusively establish that mediapersons too have fingers in the hawala and hence their love for corrupt UPA!

                For 15 years, Lalu Prasad Yadav kept Bihar on a diet of promises without ever delivering. Nitish did not promise much but on those that he did, he quietly delivered. The pathetic performance of the RJD, LJP and the Congress reflects not only the erosion of their credibility but the absence of a credible alternative to Nitish. The collective might of Sonia Gandhi, Manmohan Singh and Rahul Gandhi could do little to spoil Nitish’s party because, despite severing their ties, people of Bihar saw the ‘die-nasty’ party Congress as an ally of the RJD. Therefore, when Rahul expressed his urge to take Bihar elections under his captaincy, senior Congressmen were skeptic, as Rahul was not only inexperienced, but also slow in grasping things. But the Madam’s coterie finally prevailed and Rahul started doing things in Bihar, which the ‘secular’ media described as magic. It is this coterie that is planning to put Rahul in PM’s chair by 2012-13. So they drew a master plan: Take Rahul to campaign in Bihar, create media hype, pep up his image using old tactics—stay with Muslims, eat with Dalits, travel by second-class train, etc. But, in spite of Rahul’s active touring to lure voters in Bihar, Congress got thrashed. Any leader would have been dumped or ignored, but Gandhis are are always exception. Mukul Wasnik, who was in charge of Bihar election, has already taken the responsibility for the failure. One would concur with me, if Congress had improved its tally, all credit would have gone to Rahul Gandhi. Amazing, we tried to demolish kingdoms in democratic India, but we still found a way to create one within a democratic party!

Deepak Kumar Rath

Deepak Kumar Rath

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