Tuesday, October 19, 2010

First phase of Bihar will tell a lot....

( Writer is Delhi based journalist and IIMC alumnus) 
Some gives him absolute majority, some razor thin but it is almost proved that the Congress has established itself as a force in Bihar whether we like it or not. The ever changing political theatre of Bihar has confused the poll Pundits this time and no body is in a condition to profess which way it will turn.
Nitish has clearly the perception advantage, not the favourable caste equation and party organization this time. Will he come again or will he not?

Till a few month back, it was Nitish vs Lalu. But now it has been converted into Nitish vs equation. This is the point where Nitish Kumar seems shaking as the opposition is heavily depending upon the caste equation as against Nitish's  development. Nitish is also playing the caste card but at least he is not pitching with it.  Now the hints coming from Bihar says that Nitish might slip by a slim margin in getting the magic number of 123. Experts say that even he manages to get 100+ seats in the 243 strong assembly, he will be in a position to make Govt. But will he or not? This is the biggest question.
Nitish Kumar will be happy with pre-poll results
With dominant castes shying away from JD-U & BJP combine, it is being a messed story in Bihar this time. Last time, Nitish got the desperate vote of people who were fed up with the 15- year rule of Lalu. But this time, this is not the factor. Nitish is not getting the full fledged support of Rajputs, Bhumihars, Brahmins and Koiries. Yes, he has cosolidated his support among MBCs.
So, in caste equations he has not great edge. But on the perception count, he is far ahead. Bihar has witnessed a great improvement in law and order and roads. He has tried to improve the health care and education. Bihar is trying to attract new investments, thought no big ticket investment has materialized till yet.
This is too complex issue whether development will defeat the caste sentiment or not. Bihari society, not less than any other society, is too much engrossed into caste, and at micro level it plays a great role.
Cong can change equations
In the Muslim and Yadav dominated areas of North-East Bihar which is going to poll in the first phase, Congress has put its great resource and which way it will damage the equations is to be seen yet. The desperate statements of both Lalu and Nitish proves this. Here Nitish is trying to make it a 'either or fight' while Laloo is tryiing to make it a triangular fight as it suits him.
Laloo knows better that on perception count he can not beat Nitish. So, the entry of Congress was a welcome note for Lalu but the intensity with which Congress is contesting the poll is making Lalu sleepless, as it is now eating its Muslim and Yadav votes also.
Lalu Yadav : Let's hope for the best
The first phase will tell a lot. If Congress is able to garner support from minorities then, Lalu can wish for good performance in other parts as the Upper castes will have split in votes and they will also vote for Congress. If it does not happen and Lalu is strong there, then Upper caste will again consolidate for Nitish. So, it is going to be an interesting event.
Congress knows it, Nitish knows it and who knows it better than Lalu? That's why Congress has put all its stalwarts in the poll field including PM, Rahul and Sonia Gandhi. Let's watch!!!


1 comment:

  1. Dear Sushant Ji,
    Your analysis is almost close to the ground reality. But i ll like add something. I had an opportunity to converse wid ppl on d ground. Caste, political-equations aside, if Nitish loses or if he misses by a whisker, it ll be due to d expectations he has created in the hearts, minds and on the ground. Ppl didn’t had any expectation from Lalu –Rabri..but this time it’s d taste of development which is haunting Nitish. More…more…we want more…and if u aren’t able to deliver pls. step down. But who next…? This confusion was obviously palpable! Lalu…no…a common Biharis on ground hasn’t yet forgotten RJD’s misrule. Results, if by any analysis wld be best of wild guess and conjecture. rajiv