Which political party or political combination won Bihar elections? Of course the NDA. Is it really so? Let us delve a little deep and try to understand the scenario of the Bihar elections. Nitish Kumar was made the chief minister last time when the RJD and JDU combine won the elections. Lalu Prasad Yadav was at the helm of the RJD at the time.
Many of us still remember the famous hug of Lalu and Nitish and their beaming smiles when the latter went to meet Lalu after the declaration of election results. But Nitish broke away midway from the RJD and formed an alliance with the BJP. Lalu was put to jail.
Lalu’s family disintegrated. RJD was at its lowest low. In parliamentary elections, it was routed. Bihar saw Nitish as chief minister years after years. In Nitish rule, people experienced little development in Bihar.
The things went to their nadir during the nationwide lockdown. Bihari migrants faced their worst nightmares. Nitish was clutching to power and people of the state were in dismay. But there was no alternative to NDA and Nitish in Bihar. So it was a bygone conclusion that NDA would win the Bihar elections in the absence of a viable alternative.
But just before the elections, RJD headed by Tejashwi Yadav formed an alliance with the Congress and the Left parties. The combine started working laggardly and the overall situation remained unchanged. Even some doubted if at all it would work. There were doubts and hesitations in every quarter. But just before the elections ice started melting.
People, the oppressed and downtrodden saw something in Tejashwi. He spoke in a different language and his singular point promise was the government jobs for the youth and young unemployed. This galvanized everything. The situation started changing very fast. People started to gather in his rallies in good numbers. Slowly his rallies turned into a deluge of people.
On the other hand, the Left combine was showing some promise. In certain pockets, the lefts have some stronghold in Bihar. They were fighting against the misrule of the successive regimes for decades and they were building their organizational base on the strength of the people’s movement.
They were valiantly fighting the misrule of the BJP government at the Centre and also showing the fault lines and inefficiencies of the Nitish-led NDA government. This changed the scenario overnight. Pole predictions were slowly changing. And at a point, it tilted in favour of the Mahagatbandhan. After the elections, it was reflected in the exit polls.
The day election results were declared in Bihar was a very slow day. When the NDA saw that they were losing the battle, they tried thinking of various mean means to subvert the verdict in their favour. I don’t believe that EVM can be rigged on a mass scale, particularly when the voting percentage is high and the contest between two candidates is uneven. But if the contest is neck and neck, one cannot say that EVM cannot be manipulated. I think that was what was done in Bihar towards the fag end of the counting process. So they refused to issue winning certificates to many winning candidates of the Mahagatbandhan.
Finally, they turned the losing battle to a winning one. But at what grace and honour! How many more seats did they get to manage than the Mahagatbandhan? And what were the winning margins in those seats? Do you really call it a win? Does it deserve to be celebrated? And who became the chief minister? Nitish Kumar.
Nitish Kumar’s esteem has gone down badly over the years. He speaks of corruption and indulges himself in most unethical political practices. BJP is also in a peculiar situation. They have owned the maximum seats but they could not bat for the chief minister’s post.
If they do that Nitish may do a Maharastra in Bihar. Though they compromised on that they have cornered Nitish and his party in Bihar badly. As is the policy with the BJP they will come in some understanding with some regional party and in the process will eat up it. They tried doing that with the Shivsena which gave birth to the present situation in Maharastra. They have succeeded doing that in Assam too by taming and controlling the AGP.
So in Bihar there is no glory for NDA in winning the elections. The defeat of the RJD was more glorious than their win. Their win was no win. It was an ignominy. But the RJD and the Left must work harder now for the poor and downtrodden and secular and constitutional values inside and outside the Bihar Assembly.
Of the anti-NDA alliance, these two forces were solid. The weak link was only the Congress. I think Congress will remain the weak link if they don’t read the writings of the wall correctly. The situation has changed.
In the face of a resurgent BJP and waves of Hindutva politics, you need a strong political narrative. If you sit idle thinking that by capitalizing only on the misrule of the BJP and people’s anger against the BJP you will be able to come to power, you are living in a fool’s paradise. There has been an evolutionary change in Indian politics. If you cannot become the agent of that change you will be left behind. Bihar should be an eye-opener for you.