“By the skilful and sustained use of propaganda, one can make the people see even heaven as hell or an extremely wretched life as a paradise”– Adolf Hitler
Attuning to a similar fervor explicated by the aforesaid quote, Prime Minister Narendra Modi mesmerised the teeming crowd, hurling words or rather fleshing out his ammos directly targeting the new found Kumar-Yadav duo at the Parivartan Rally in Gaya.
With 4000 security personnel at guard and prominent BJP stalwarts flanking the political juggernaut, the rally in Gaya gave flashes of Modi’s efficient oratory and his penchant for words. His tweaked words and phrases, in an attempt at maligning the present chief minister Nitish Kumar gave the media a platter of toothsome acronyms like JDU: Janta ka Daman aur Utpeedan (The oppression and persecution of the people), RJD: Rozana ke jungleraj ka dar.(Fear of the jungle raj)
Amid Modi’s quite plausible and rational plans for the state’s development, there was a flurry of quips that weren’t sagacious enough to expound the truth. Amongst them is the following: Don’t give the people who have ruined Bihar in the last 25 years a second chance.
Poring over the statements sounded out by Modi, one would beg to differ from the maverick considering the developmental activities doled out by the Bihar government under the chief ministership of Nitish Kumar.
Decoding the contention
According to a report released by the ASSOCHAM on Bihar in the year 2013, the state has upped its status considerably despite its “huge disadvantage of the past baggage of laggard development“. The statistical record given by the organization pegged the compounded average growth rate at 20 per cent in terms of public investment between March 2003 – March 2013, while Gujarat lagged behind at 14.1 percent.
Further, the report also threw light upon the positive changes pulled in the state owing to the amount of public investment garnered by the state over the period of time. “It is the public investment which is ushering in the growth trajectory in Bihar, where the BJP is the junior partner to its NDA ally with the JD(U) in coalition that rules Bihar,” posted the report.
Moreover, economist Swaminathan Aiyar’s accreditation of the economic turnaround in Bihar owing to the sound law and order situation under Nitish Kumar in a report in the Mint clearly refutes Narendra Modi’s imagery of a destructed Bihar.
Bihar is a BIMARU state
Amid the lackluster states of Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Orissa etc, Modi’s hawk eyes are on a trail to register the anomalies prevalent in Bihar. Lashing out at the chief minister of the state, he said that both Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh under the leadership of Vasundhara Raje and Shivraj Singh Chauhan respectively have succeeded in fending off their BIMARU status.
“Bihar has hit the road on its way to economic recovery and among the BIMARU states comprising Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh, it has attained the top position in terms of growth rate with an annual GSDP OF 9.3 percent in the year 2013,” said ASSOCHAM Secretary General D S Rawat.
Taking a step ahead, Economist Jean Dreaze conceded to the improving circumstances in Bihar. He dilated his stand stating that Bihar has considerably cut leakages from the PDS (Public Distribution System) which came down from 90 per cent during 2000’s to less than 75 percent in 2011-2012.
“A combination of political will, empowerment on the ground and institutional reforms like issuing coupons to the beneficiaries which made embezzlement difficult for ration sellers have all helped”, said Reetika Khera, assistant professor of economics at IIT Delhi (an excerpt from the Mint).
Khera’s take on Nitish Kumar’s dedication and his relentless efforts on curbing the malpractices prevalent in the state confirms the veracity of the JD(U) leader’s potential as the harbinger of development.
Mr. Prime Minister seemed overly concerned over Bihar’s depreciating status but did he ever wonder why poor Nitish Kumar has been harping on a special status to be rendered to the state?
“Considering the fact that 53.3 per cent of Bihar population’s is below the poverty line, further, the state’s manufacturing growth being a meagre 0.4 percent as compared to higher numbers for Himachal Pradesh, Assam, Jammu and Kashmir, owing to the lack of private investments in the state, it becomes all the more important for the same to bear a special status”, reported the Economic Times report.
A special status would render an enhanced flow of funds into the state along with other brownie points such as freight equalization and increased availability of resources.
With Modi’s ostentatious promises reverberating the rally in Gaya, one might have overlooked the fact that it was NDA led central government which had denied a special status to the state like the former governments.
JDU means Janata Ka Daman and Utpeedan and RJD means Rozana Jungle Raj ka Darr
Though, at the very first look, the acronyms might seem quite attractive and bewitching but the suppression and the jungle Raj which Modi is talking of might turn out to be an effective card in solving the electoral riddle. With the amount of support that RJD might garner from its Yadav counterparts and the acumen and deftness wielded by Nitish Kumar, the political union might end up bringing forth favourable changes in the state.
“No party wins elections only on development and Lalu’s track record in governance can be compensated if there is an authentic alliance which helps Nitish with Lalu’s large social base,” said Shaibal Gupta, renowned economist and member secretary of the Asian Development Research Institute based in Patna.
Gupta’s take on the political jointure gives an inkling of a balanced concoction wherein majority support with a chunk of prudent developmental policies might end up fetching Bihar the favourable status it has been looking for.
“He who fights with monsters might take care lest he thereby becomes a monster. And if you gaze for long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you”- Friedrich Nietzsche
Politics is quite similar to what Friedrich had to say on people fighting monsters. In an attempt at obliterating bad, we often get enchanted by the bad. Similarly, politicians in their efforts at fixing things rights end up taking to vicious practices.
The tussle between the political adversaries will inevitably encapsulate ceaseless episodes of mud slinging, with media houses nibbling on the jargons used by them in the electoral rallies yet to take place. However, the onus lies on the mango man.
Will the citizenry of Bihar filter out the truth or get stuck in the political Jumla (rhetoric) that lies ahead?
At least 152 children have died in an encephalitis outbreak during the month of June in India’s eastern state of Bihar, according to local health authorities. Following a petition, India’s supreme court ordered an investigation into the epidemic.
Acute encephalitis syndrome, sometimes referred to as ‘brain fever’, has claimed lives in 20 of Bihar’s 38 districts. In particular, the disease has gripped the Muzaffarpur district of Bihar, reaching epidemic proportions in a region already stricken with poverty and poor child health.
In 2014, an outbreak of encephalitis killed 350 children in Muzaffarpur.
A petition filed to India’s supreme court sought to end the current epidemic, accusing local and regional governments of being negligent in their response.
“[Encephalitis] is completely curable and lives of young children are being lost due to the inaction of state machinery,” the petition read.
“Most of the deaths are occurring due to lack of medical facilities in the area of outbreak,” it continued.
In response to the petition, Indian supreme court justice Sanjiv Khanna said “We issue notice to the Bihar government seeking a detailed response.”
State and national officials must respond within seven days on health conditions, according to India’s top court.
India’s health ministry affirmed its earlier promise to open a children’s ward in the district and monitor the epidemic, as state health official face sharp criticism for what has been seen as indifference and negligent behavior.
India’s health minister Harsh Varadhan insisted that the Indian government was providing “all possible support” to combat the epidemic.
Since June 1, more than 700 cases of the disease have been recorded, though there are signs that the disease has been slowing, with no new deaths reported on Monday. (VOA)