Patna: A London-educated woman from Darbhanga took the occasion of International Women’s Day for a one-of-a-kind political move — announcing herself as a chief ministerial candidate in Bihar, with the promise to develop the state to European standards by 2030.
On Monday, Pushpam Priya Choudhary took out full-page jacket advertisements in the state’s local newspapers to announce the arrival of her outfit named ‘Plurals’, and her candidature in the 2020 assembly polls, leaving the people in Bihar confounded — including her family members engaged in politics.
“Love Bihar, hate politics? Join the most progressive political party,” she advertised, adding, “Bihar deserves better, and better is possible.”
Bihar needs pace, Bihar needs wings, Bihar needs change. Because Bihar deserves better and better is possible. Reject bullshit politics, join Plurals to make Bihar run and fly in 2020. #PluralsHasArrived #ProgressiveBihar2020 pic.twitter.com/GiQU00oiJv
— Pushpam Priya Choudhary (@pushpampc13) March 8, 2020
Speaking to ThePrint, Pushpam’s father Binod Choudhary, who is a former MLC from CM Nitish Kumar’s Janata Dal (United), insisted he didn’t know his daughter had advertised herself as the CM candidate.
“But she says that she is getting support from thousands of people from Bihar, India and abroad,” said Binod.
ThePrint couldn’t reach Pushpam for a comment on her political aspirations, but Binod shed some light.
We are deeply grateful to our readers & viewers for their time, trust and subscriptions.
Quality journalism is expensive and needs readers to pay for it. Your support will define our work and ThePrint’s future.
“She has been in Bihar and moving across the state,” he said. “Priya has been telling me everything about what has gone wrong in Bihar and even accused me of not doing anything about it. I told her that I was just an MLC for six years.
“But she is my daughter, and as a father she does have my blessings,” he added.
However, Pushpam’s uncle Ajay Choudhary, who is the district president of JD(U) in Darbhanga, was less than enthused by her arrival on the political scene.
“It is a laughable claim. People of Bihar want Nitish Kumar to be the CM for the next 15 years,” he said.
Who the prospective Bihar CM is
Pushpam Priya Choudhary comes from a political family from Darbhanga that has had a long association with Nitish Kumar.
Her grandfather Umashankar Choudhary was with Kumar when the latter co-founded the Samata Party in 1994. Umashankar had even contested on the party’s ticket.
While Binod was an MLC from Kumar’s JD(U), Ajay too is a local leader of the party. Kumar has even visited their house in Darbhanga on several occasions.
Pushpam has received her education abroad.
According to the ‘Plurals’ website she unveiled, she is a postgraduate in development studies from the Institute of Development Studies, University of Sussex, UK, and in public administration from the London School of Economics.
Speaking about her career so far, Binod said, “She said that she got an offer of a job with a package of about Rs 8 crore per year in the UK. I asked her to accept it. But she said that she wanted to do something big.”
Local residents of Darbhanga have little memory of her. “After schooling, she shifted to UK where her elder sister resides,” said a local resident and neighbour of the family who didn’t wish to be named.
Pushpam Priya Choudhary’s politics
In the jacket advertisement in Bihar dailies Monday, Pushpam Priya Choudhary also published a letter addressed to the state’s people.
According to the letter’s text, originally in Hindi, Pushpam promised to make Bihar the most developed state in the country by 2025, and further develop it the standards of any European nation by 2030.
Her account on social media platform Facebook, where she has been advertising her party for the last few months, presents a better view of her politics.
In one of her posts, she said, “Our sense of politics is so twisted (thanks to the politicians) that it is unimaginable for us to believe that it can do any good or to trust anyone who speaks up for the society. ‘That simply cannot be right, there must be some vested interest.’ Right?
“While we are not to be blamed for losing trust in politicians because after independence they all have mostly failed us. But, we definitely are to be blamed for choosing to remain at the periphery and only discuss politics in our living rooms and recently on social media.”
In another post, she mocked the governance in Bihar.
“The government responds only to people with strong connections — the ruling class. Everyone else in the state is left behind. The quality of life is extremely sub-standard, and the life of the common citizen has no value.
“Unarguably, it is delusional to think that ‘everyone governs’ here and consequently we are far from being free,” she said.
No one’s taking her seriously
Politicians in the state, including many in her uncle’s party, see Pushpam Priya Choudhary’s move as childish.
“She should join the young brigade of politicians in Bihar like Kanhaiya Kumar and Tejashwi Yadav who are still slogging out to make a mark. It is very difficult to sell dreams to a caste-ridden society. AAP tried to bring in fresh air in Bihar politics in 2014 and its candidates failed miserably,” said a JD(U) leader who didn’t wish to be quoted.
“Those living abroad and wanting to be CM, is not possible. People will prefer to stick to persons who have lived with them,” said Bharatiya Janata Party spokesperson Rajni Ranjan Patel.
“If she can be CM, then you can too,” said a JD(U) minister on the condition of anonymity, stressing that his party refused to take her challenge seriously.
News media is in a crisis & only you can fix it
You are reading this because you value good, intelligent and objective journalism. We thank you for your time and your trust.
You also know that the news media is facing an unprecedented crisis. It is likely that you are also hearing of the brutal layoffs and pay-cuts hitting the industry. There are many reasons why the media’s economics is broken. But a big one is that good people are not yet paying enough for good journalism.
We have a newsroom filled with talented young reporters. We also have the country’s most robust editing and fact-checking team, finest news photographers and video professionals. We are building India’s most ambitious and energetic news platform. And we aren’t even three yet.
At ThePrint, we invest in quality journalists. We pay them fairly and on time even in this difficult period. As you may have noticed, we do not flinch from spending whatever it takes to make sure our reporters reach where the story is. Our stellar coronavirus coverage is a good example. You can check some of it here.
This comes with a sizable cost. For us to continue bringing quality journalism, we need readers like you to pay for it. Because the advertising market is broken too.
If you think we deserve your support, do join us in this endeavour to strengthen fair, free, courageous, and questioning journalism, please click on the link below. Your support will define our journalism, and ThePrint’s future. It will take just a few seconds of your time.