Tuesday, 28 June, 2022
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Bihar results show BJP is getting closer to its last bastion in Hindi belt

In Bihar, BJP has come into its own but the party respects coalition dharma, Nitish Kumar.

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The victory of the Bharatiya Janata Party led National Democratic Alliance in Bihar is reassuring at multiple levels. People of Bihar have reposed their faith in the tried, tested and trusted leadership of Nitish Kumar.

The victory also marks a very important moment in terms of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) coming into its own in Bihar. It is a remarkable feat because the party with a formidable organisational structure at the district and sub-divisional level, has managed to generate a sense of enthusiasm and optimism in the rank and file of the organisation. This growth indicates that the BJP is inching closer to controlling the last bastion in the Hindi belt. The BJP, nevertheless, respects coalition dharma. It was the BJP that introduced the term ‘coalition dharma’ in the Indian political lexicon. In 2005, the BJP had more MLAs compared to the  JD (U), but the party, based on its commitment, made Nitish Kumar the CM of Bihar. So, the commitment for coalition values is BJP’s strength and the party respects the relationship with the JD (U).

Also read: Nitish Kumar set to be sworn in as Bihar CM for 7th time as NDA holds off Tejashwi charge

Exit polls brought unease

For the last few days — after some of the exit polls prematurely declared Tejashvi Yadav as the next chief minister — there was an atmosphere of unease in Patna. I could feel a sense of anxiety among my female colleagues and students at Patna University who raised this pertinent question — will we be able to venture out of our homes after 6pm in the event of the exit poll predictions coming true?

It required a tweet from the Rashtriya Janata Dal’s (RJD) official handle to caution the party workers against “inappropriate fireworks, firing in the air, improper behaviour against opponents and their supporters”. This is nothing but despicable. For Tejashwi, moving away from the legacy of dark days of his father and RJD president Lalu Prasad Yadav still seems to be an insurmountable job. Dropping the pictures of both Lalu and Rabri Devi from campaign posters was a step in the right direction. It was an attempt to disown the past and erase the memories of the erstwhile Jungle Raj. However, dropping the past from campaign posters doesn’t necessarily mean moving in the future.

The credit for conversation around jobs was undeservedly given to Tejashwi Yadav — a product of politics of legacy and a person who himself is not eligible to apply for any government job. On the contrary, with a careful analysis, one can see the gradual institutionalisation of ‘politics of performance’ in the political landscape of India by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. For a party like the RJD, which is a caste-based organisation and a family-based enterprise, to move towards the job rhetoric is indicative of the tectonic shift in the politics of the Hindi heartland. Over the years, the RJD has survived by manipulating the social fault lines through division and polarisation of people in the name of caste and community.

Also read: Despite the sweet victory, Modi-Shah BJP has a Nitish Kumar-sized problem in Bihar

Bihar and democracy

There exists a centuries-old relationship between democracy and Bihar.

Vaishali is historically attributed as the birthplace of democracy. It was the land of Bihar where the author of Arthashastra, Chanakya, led Chandragupta Maurya — a boy from a socially marginalised community — to the throne of one of the largest empires the world has ever seen. Chanakya and the emergence of Chandragupta Maurya is a testimony to the fact that in a people-led system of governance, it is not necessary that the son of a king will also become a king. It was Jayaprakash Narayan from Bihar who gave the call for Total Revolution when the soul of India’s Constitution was tarnished.

Also read: How Tejashwi went from failed cricketer & a Lok Sabha disaster to almost chief minister

Modi led from the front

The Covid crisis was unprecedented and nations across the globe were facing unforeseen challenges. But Prime Minister Modi transformed this crisis into an opportunity for India. Be it exporting PPE kits, extending pharmaceutical cooperation or reshaping the post-crisis world order, India has shown resilience at every step of the crisis. With the world looking at China with scepticism and the Indo-Pacific region becoming the focal point, India, with Quad and the recent Malabar exercise, has sent out a clear message — it is set to play a significant role in the politics of the region and the world.

Naysayers may have rejected the Modi government’s plan to provide free ration to more than eight crore people of Bihar, but by doing this, the Prime Minister has ensured that not a single person goes hungry to the bed in the night. Out of the 4.7 crore accounts opened under the Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana (PMJDY) in Bihar, more than 2.5 crore belong to women. The government has transferred more than Rs 13,000 crore into these accounts. It became difficult even for leaders of the opposition parties to discount these welfare measures that have benefitted a large segment of the population. The opening up of academic institutions of eminence such as AIIMS, Nalanda University and NIFT among others, and infrastructure development like airport in Darbhanga, will transform the lives of the people of Bihar.

Prime Minister Modi has asserted that the development of India is incomplete without the development of Bihar. The next phase of the state’s development will focus on making an ‘Atmanirbhar Bihar’. With penetration of optical fibre network, creation of IT parks and by leveraging opportunities in the food processing sector, Bihar will start afresh. The economic opportunities that lie in promoting the cultivation of fox nuts, litchi and maize, and focus on fisheries must be realised in the interest of the state and its people. With the foundational aspects of bijli, sadak and pani being taken care of, under the leadership of Prime Minister Modi, Bihar will now witness the next generation of development and revival of its lost legacy.

Guru Prakash @IGuruPrakash is the national spokesperson of BJP. Views are personal.

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