The landslide victory of Mahagathbandhan in Bihar assembly polls has stunned political parties and pundits alike. The Mahagathbandhan leader Nitish Kumar, who will soon take over as Chief Minister for third time, said on November 8 that the mandate has shown that ‘the people of Bihar have rejected attempts to polarize society and want a strong alternative at the national level.’
In the wake of Mahgathbandhan’s stunning victory, Nitish Kumar has graduated from being an able CM to becoming a mass leader and perhaps an alternative to Prime Minister Modi in the near future. According to one opinion, Bihar 2015 is about Nitish Kumar just as India 2014 was about Narendra Modi, his support cutting across communities, without which it would not have been possible for the Mahagathbandhan to garner massive victory by winning an impressive 178 seats.
It has been opined that there was an undercurrent of sympathy discernible for Nitis
Some experts feel that the success of Mahgathbandhan lay in the way it converted arithmetic into chemistry. Together, the JD (U), the RJD and the Congress had 45% of the vote in 2014 and this is almost the vote-share they have polled in 2015. Steps like coming together of the former rivals Nitish and Lalu, the RJDsupremo agreeing to Nitish being the chief ministerial candidateand with the distribution of tickets taking place amicablyvirtually paved way for Mahgathbandhan; a demonstration of which had been made in the assembly by-polls held in August 2014. Another important factor that favoured Mahgathbandhanwas the unanimity over transferring
Some media reports have quoted former Union Minister Arun Shourie saying that Narendra Modi, Amit Shah and Arun Jaitley should be held accountable for BJP’s loss in Bihar elections and predicted that the “silent non-cooperation movement” in the party against the leadership will now deepen. He further added that a ‘Modi-centric’
While thanking the people for their support, Nitish Kumar, Bihar chief minister said: “Whatever may have happened during the election, now that the Grand Alliance has won, we hope to get the support of the central government.”
Some observers view the Bihar verdict as a setback for Indian politics’ Jodi No. 1: Narendra Modi and Amit Shah. Apart fromdenting the PM’s popularity, the verdict has also exposed BJP’s folly of staking PM’s prestige on a state election, making him address district-level meetings, pitting him against a chief ministerial candidate. Undoubtedly, the verdict may not affect Amit Shah’s continuance as the BJP president even after December when his term comes to an end; nevertheless, questions about why his strategy failed so miserably are bound to be asked.
The simmering discontent within the BJP may also getemboldened to raise qu
In 2015 alone the BJP has suffered two electoral debacles, first in Delhi in February and now in Bihar. Undoubtedly, the defeat in Delhi was passed off as an aberration; nonetheless, Bihar may turn out to be different. Amit Shah’s one-size-fits-all campaign strategy lost its novelty in Bihar, a complex state, where political discourse ranged from caste to development to religion. Shah’s style of micro-managing the Bihar campaign resulted in bruised egos and dissidence among the state’s leaders and misplaced zeal among thousands of party workers brought in from other states with little knowledge of local equations.
Many experts are of the view that the first national impact of Mahagathbandhan’s emphatic Bihar victory will be felt later this month when the Parliament meets for the winter session late November as an emboldened Opposition is likely to block a host of reform legislation. Mahagathbandhan’s victory will force the Modi government to put bills like GST bill, the real estate regulatory authority bill and the ambitious labour reforms intothe cold storage in the foreseeable future.
Modi government will have to brace for a heated winter session where growing intolerance is likely to be the bone of contention.The Trinamool Congress leader Saugata Roy has said: “We can look forward to more confrontation and disruption as the Opposition’s intention would be to put the government on the mat.”
Bihar verdict has been welcomed by almost all non-BJP parties and it has elicited congratulatory messages from across entire political spectrum within the country. While conveying her felicitations to Nitish Kumar and Lalu Prasad and the people of Bihar, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Sunday termed the Bihar election result as defeat of “intolerance”. Ahead of the third phase of the elections in Bihar, she had also appealed to voters to support Nitish Kumar and re-elect him as Chief Minister by tweeting: “Request you all in Bihar to please vote to re-elect Nitish Kumar ji as CM for greater need of our country & development in State.”
Raj Thackeray, MNS chief, termed it as a victory for the politics of regional pride, development and social justice. Tarun Gogoi, Assam chief minister tweeted: “The grand victory of Nitishji, Laluji and Soniaji is a verdict of the people of Bihar against communal, divisive and anti-poor forces.” Sanjay Raut, Shiv Sena leader said: “Nitish Kumar has emerged as a mahanayak (superhero). His victory was the need in Bihar. He has done good work in Bihar. I greet him on behalf of Shiv Sena. The results in Bihar will bring a new turn to politics of the country.”
Rahul Gandhi, Congress vice-president said in a series of tweets: “This is a victory of unity over divisiveness, humility over arrogance, love over hate and a victory of the people of Bihar…I want Mr. Modi to tone down his arrogance, it will be good for him and for the nation as well.”
Shatrughan Sinha, BJP leader he said in tweets: “Congratulations to Laluji & Nitishji for this victory in Bihar elections. We bow before people’s mandate. It is the victory of democracy and the people of Bihar. I salute them. It appears that the issue of Bihari vs Bahari (and Bihari Babu’s absence) has been settled once and for all.”
Some political pundits feel that Bihar has delivered a tectonic verdict that will have a variety of implications for national politics and governance. The success of Mahagathbandhan can be seen as the beginnings of a consolidation of state parties to check the BJP’s advance. Nitish Kumar entails
Nitish Kumar would be heading an inherently fragile coalition of three parties which are quite different from one another temperamentally and culturally and he will be having an unenviable task of managing extreme contradictions on his hands. The Mahagathbandhan has to test its mettle and its tensile strength might well depend on the behavior of the Congress and the RJD. If Nitish Kumar succeeds in keeping his allies together he would emerge as a political fulcrum around which all anti-BJP and anti-Modi political forces would converge.
DR. Anil Singh; Executive Editor, News 24; Mobile: 09811157975