The countdown has begun…
The condition of another highly ignored state by the Government of India, besides Punjab, is on the verge of either a significant transformation or it would lead to a much steeper fall…
Coming Sunday, the fate of Bihar will be decided. The third most populous state of the country boasts of a high domination of the youth with a median age of 20, and with a power of 66 million voters. No wonder why, this assembly election is said to be one of the most important ones for the land.
The people of the state have a tough call to make – with saffron-coloured posters and hoardings on one side that represent the mighty pictures of the honourable Prime Minister of India, and billboards of yellow, green and red colours on the other side with powerful dictums written on them, there is a lot happening in the state for the past few months in the name of election.
For many, the Bihar election is nothing more than a prestige issue between Nitish Kumar and Narendra Modi. And then there are others, who are always perplexed with the dynamics of the state which is often known for its grim caste scuffles and political break-ups.
Still, the election in this state matters, and it matters more than ever before!
Bihar – The land of Castes, Politics and ‘Shifting’ Coalitions
No matter how hard one may try, separating Bihar from castes and politics is a futile attempt. The religious and cultural sentiments of the populaces, surrounded with the clash of titles, help politics play a major role in shaping the state. The political ramifications of the election’s verdict add to the already mounting anxiety amongst the political parties, and have been a prime cause of verbal allegations and scuffles between BJP and JD (U). It is no surprise that the verdict is as important for the BJP as it is for the Chief Minister of the state, Nitish Kumar.
With dreams and aspirations of serving a third term as the dominant leader of the state, Nitish has left no stone unturned in securing his position by establishing alliances with several parties that stand in opposition to the tough rival, BJP.
The 2015 election has made us witness maliciousness of politics like never before. The contentions between rival parties and the intemperate form of rancorous and rowdy campaigning that has been done this year have truly metamorphosed the way politics is done in India, and that is for the worse.
I have been a close follower of Bihar politics and I am astonished to see how openly the opponents are hitting each other below the belt this time. This normalcy has given a new, unsolicited dimension to the political fragmentation in the state.
The collapse of the 17 year old alliance between the Bhartiya Janata Party and Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has been a moment of surprise for many. If that was not enough, Nitish Kumar went ahead to mend his terms with friend-turned-foe Lalu Prasad Yadav. Perhaps, this marriage of convenience between the duo and their parties the JD (U) and the RJD, called for a well planned motive of fighting the mighty BJP clan. With Congress on their side, Nitish and Lalu successfully formed the ‘Grand Alliance’ or Mahagathbandhan, making it difficult for the BJP to have an easy win.
But, BJP is not a party that gets scared so easily. After experiencing a drastic fall in Delhi, the party did not become distraught and confidently, or rather overconfidently, followed its goals to make a mark on Bihar. The formation of a coalition of parties to outdo its formidable opponent is quite an indication of this fact. This coalition of parties, called the National Democratic Alliance, which includes the Lok Janshakti Party, the Rashtriya Lok Samata Party, and the Hindustani Awam Morcha (Secular), has become a cherry on the cake for BJP. The party is now all set to get a huge amount of votes with the strong backing of PM Modi and believes to fetch more of them from these smaller regional parties that have their own distinct, caste-based vote bank.
As a matter of fact, in Bihar, there have been many attempts to polarise the voters on the grounds of caste and religion over the years. Now, with 827 candidates fighting in the electoral, the Grand Alliance and its opponents have challenged every bit of political allegiances.
Needless to mention, the ever changing dynamics of this bitterly fought election have left so much for us to see in the coming months.
The Game of Power, Position & Rule
Bihar, another vulnerable state like Punjab, is at the fore front of politics where the game of power, position and rule is taken way too seriously. But, unfortunately, just like Punjab, the condition of the state does not see any improvement.
The 2015 election which began on October 12 and which will be concluded on November 8 is said to be the biggest electoral test for the political alliances that have emerged of late.
If the BJP government comes into power, then the central government will get a new impetus for booming in the state elections that will be held in 2016 and 2017. As far as the CM of Bihar – Nitish Kumar is concerned, his victory will help him retain his throne and restore the standing which trembled after the 2014 general election fiasco.
Winning the election is much more significant for Lalu Prasad Yadav to maintain the dwindling position and supremacy of his family in the state. For Congress, a winning stint would give some hope to the once difficult-to-be-defeated political party, and will be a step forward in the revival of Congress – a much needed step at this point in time.
This Sunday, when the verdict will be out, the consequences will have an impact on not only these political parties, but also on the people of the state and beyond.