Saturday July 21, 2018
Home Politics Barbs, insult...

Barbs, insults, abuses galore as Bihar goes to polls

0
//
67
Republish
Reprint

Patna: Some 66.8 million people would be eligible to vote from Monday in staggered Bihar assembly polls as the biggest popularity test is set to take place in the country after the Delhi thrashing of BJP and Congress in February.

After weeks of no-holds-barred campaigning in which the key players hurled real and perceived abuses at one another, the Bihar clash will show whether or not Prime Minister Narendra Modi still retains his charisma.

If pre-election surveys are to be believed, it will be no cakewalk for anyone including the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) as well as the Grand Alliance of the ruling JD-U, RJD and Congress.

Some surveys have forecast a narrow win for the Chief Minister Nitish Kumar-led coalition in the 243-seat assembly. Others predict a win for the four-party alliance led by the Bharatiya Janata Party.

The BJP allies are Ram Vilas Paswan’s Lok Janshakti Party (LJP), the RLSP of union minister Upender Kushwaha and former chief minister Jitan Ram Manjhi’s Hindustan Awami Morcha (HAM).

The five-phase elections end on November 5. The vote count is due on November 8.

The Left parties have ended their long bonhomie with the JD-U and RJD, and are on their own, but unlikely to make a big impact. There is also a Third Front led by the Samajwadi Party. And, although it has put up only six candidates, the MIM of Asaduddin Owaisi is making waves.

However, everyone agrees that the main battle will be between Modi and Nitish Kumar, who once sailed in the same boat but are now bitter foes.

Modi is taking no chances. He is poised to set a record by addressing around 40 rallies in the state – the most by any prime minister.

Socio-political analyst Soroor Ahmad said no prime minister before Modi had visited Bihar more than two-three times during assembly elections.

“Modi’s credibility and charisma will be in doubt if the BJP suffers a defeat,” warned Jai Prakash, an activist.

After leading the BJP to a sensational victory in the 2014 Lok Sabha election, Modi had been on a winning spree even in states.

That was till February 2015 when the Aam Aadmi Party stunned the BJP and Modi by winning 67 of the 70 seats in the Delhi assembly. The BJP was left with just three seats.

BJP leaders admit that the need for a win in Bihar was important if only to prove that the Delhi rout was a fluke.

Backing Modi’s aggressive campaign are 13 of his 26 ministers, mostly from Bihar.

And BJP’s allied groups like the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, Vishva Hindu Parishad, Bajrang Dal and Durga Vahini are actively campaigning for the party.

The BJP is contesting 160 of the 243 assembly seats, its allies the LJP 40, the Rashtriya Lok Samata Party (RLSP) 23 and the HAM 20 seats.

Bihar is equally important for the Janata Dal-United (JD-U) and the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD), which have come together after years of hostility along with the Congress.

The JD-U and RJD have fielded 101 candidates each, and the Congress 41.

The main electoral planks on which all parties are seeking votes include economic development, job quotas and battle against corruption.

But political activists admit that in many places, caste equations will influence the voters more than any other issue.

Of the total 66.8 million voters, 13.5 million are eligible to decide the fate of 586 candidates in the first round of polling covering 49 constituencies on Monday.

Drones will be used for the first time for surveillance, officials said.

According to the Association for Democratic Reforms and the National Election Watch, as many as 130 candidates in the first round of polls face serious criminal charges including murder.

(Imran Khan, IANS)

Click here for reuse options!
Copyright 2015 NewsGram

Next Story

Why JDU & BJP Coalition Will Remain Intact

JDU knows that this 15-16% votes is not enough to help the party and for the BJP too, only the 17% votes of upper castes are not sufficient

0
Nitish Kumar with Narendra Modi.
Nitish Kumar with Narendra Modi.

By Sagarneel Sinha

There have been lots of discussions among the political circles that JDU led by Bihar Chief
Minister Nitish Kumar is upset with the BJP and trying to send signals to erst allies — RJD and the Congress. This led to speculations that Nitish may once again join the Grand Alliance (GA) leaving the NDA camp. Already, RJD’s new commander Tejasvi Yadav has clearly stated that Nitish led JDU will not be welcomed in the GA. Despite all the odds, if (suppose) GA partners accommodate Nitish, he wouldn’t be the driving force of the alliance as in 2015. Also, Nitish cannot afford to go alone like in 2014 when his party fetched only 2 seats!

Then which is the correct way for JDU? It is to go with the BJP in the upcoming 2019 polls.
JDU’s advantage in this case is the present situation of the BJP. Currently, the saffron party is not in a strong position as the party would be facing anti-incumbency from a strong RJD led alliance in the state. BJP’s traditional voters are the upper castes who account for 17% of the electorate. This votebank is not enough for the party to help to win elections. The main opposition party — RJD still commands over a larger votebank than BJP. RJD is still a dominant force among the Yadavs and the Muslims who account for 31% of the population. It means BJP has to minus the 31% votes and rely on the rest — 69%. Out of these, 16% are the Mahadalits — a large portion of whom generally hail Nitish Kumar as their leader. Also, there are Kurmis, an OBC group consisting of 4% votes — considered as the supporters of JDU. Nitish Kumar himself is also a Kurmi.

Nitish Kumar Invited to Join NDA by Amit Shah After JDU-BJP Tie-up in Bihar
Nitish Kumar Invited to Join NDA by Amit Shah After JDU-BJP Tie-up in Bihar.

JDU knows that this 15-16% votes is not enough to help the party and for the BJP too, only the 17% votes of upper castes are not sufficient. However, if these votebanks are joined together they form around 31-32%. Plus, to gain the extra votes, both the parties have the option to rely on the personal charisma of Nitish Kumar and Prime Minister Narendra Modi. However, there is a power tussle between the two allies to get a respectable share of seats.

This power tussle is because of a strong BJP which earlier used to be a junior ally. The 2014 Lok Sabha elections changed the political scenario of the state where BJP emerged as the largest party in terms of vote share and seats. JDU knows the reality of a new emerging BJP, though it is pushing hard to gain a respectable share of seats for the Lok Sabha elections. Instead, Nitish Kumar has another option — giving the bigger chunk to the BJP for the Lok Sabha elections and the latter playing the junior partner for the 2020 assembly elections if held timely. Given the current situation in the country, in a crucial state like Bihar, BJP can hardly reject JDU as the later still commands over 15-16% votes — a very crucial votebank for winning maximum seats in the 2019 polls. Importance of JDU can also be explained by BJP president Amit Shah’s visit to Patna to have breakfast and dinner with Nitish Kumar. Though in politics there are no permanent friends or foes, so any perfect prediction is impossible. But given the current situation, JDU and BJP parting their ways seems unlikely as both the parties are in need of each other as already highlighted by Amit Shah that the two allies would fight the Lok Sabha elections together. Smiling face of Nitish Kumar was also an indication that the meetings with Amit Shah were fine.