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Bihar’s political fever: Decoding the implicit conspiracies and conniving leaders

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By Sreyashi Mazumdar

The land of Swaraswati, Bihar, has been juddering by tremors of political quibbles for a considerable time now. The saga started off with the two political stalwarts striking a deal – RJD-JD(U)- for the forthcoming elections, followed by BJP’s perseverance to crack down upon the prevalent arrangement in the state. As of now, the entire state has turned into a labyrinth, with political pundits and commoners finding it hard to detangle the mesh.

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According to a survey conducted by Zee News, about 46.3% of the people in Bihar want Nitish Kumar to be the chief minister, while, 37% want Sushil Kumar Modi to be the representative of the state, and 4.9 % of them are calling for Ram Vilas Paswan’s triumph in the assembly elections.

If one reads into the figures, one might end up inferring Nitish Kumar’s inevitable victory in the political duel; but with the kind of tricks the unbeatable maverick, Narendra Modi, takes to, it would be quite an incoherent conclusion to stick make.

The ostentation gets further escalated with Narendra Modi’s coveted visit to the state on Saturday.

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The saffron party made sure to make the much awaited ‘Parivartan rally’a grand affair, with billboards and newspaper ads plumping Modi’s development model. Despite sharing the stage with Nitish Kumar, Modi didn’t balk at unleashing his implicit ammos.

Toeing his fetish for development, he expounded his plans for the state.  “Considering the present situation, every state, in order to succeed, needs development. Be it illiteracy, poverty or lack of health care facilities, every problem has got one solution and that is development,” reiterated Modi.

Taking an implicit dig at the RJD supremo, Lalu Prasad Yadav, he said railway projects which were left incomplete would have touched new heights had NDA won the 2004 Lok sabha elections; but after UPA took over the reign, they started endorsing railway ministers from Bihar who were not able to deliver the required results.

Fleshing out his party’s intent for Bihar, he said the state requires a refurbished connectivity which would include all the three modes of transportation – railways, roadways, and air. He further harped on his purport to render the state special status later on.

Along with that, he inaugurated the IIT-Patna building, and further gave a green signal to the Patna-Mumbai AC Express train. He also ushered in the train service on the newly constructed Daniwan-Bihashraif rail line, as stated in an India Today report.

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Although the string of schemes rolled out by the Prime minister at the meet reflected his noble intentions, a closer read into his quips and implicit attacks on the opposition parties give an inkling of his divide and rule policy.

In an attempt at wrecking the political set up, Modi has initiated the process of an in-explicit feud between the once arch rivals. Lalu Prasad Yadav’s recent dig at Narendra Modi throws light on the jitteriness borne by him after being accused of inefficiency by his adversary, “What about his ache din promises?” as quoted in an ABP news report.

Complying a similar feeling of antagonism, even Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar chastised Modi for his DNA-quip wherein the Prime Minister talked ill of the Bihar supremo’s DNA. According to an India Today report, Nitish Kumar said, “The people of Bihar and I share the same DNA.” The JD(U) supreme’s retaliation took place at a press conference which was held immediately after Modi’s departure from the state.

Mulling over the political developments in Bihar, one might be left stupefied at the turn of events; however, the fleeting moments, surely, leave a stench of breeding political conspiracies. Whether the newfangled bonhomie blows the conch of success or gets beleaguered by the conniving attempts of the old maverick is yet to be seen.

Modi’s Hunkar rally might have been perturbed by the bombings that took place just before his rally kicked off, but his attempt at pulling plug on his resisters through his Parivartan rally hints at his clandestine intentions of storming the current political scenario in the state and bringing a change that would inevitably pave his party’s path towards success in the forthcoming Bihar assembly elections.





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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

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.