The tone was malign, the pitch high and antagonistic rhetoric covered the Bihar during the long campaign of Bihar election.
Much talked , largely anticipated and one of the most dynamic Bihar election has finally ended in which the Grand-alliance routed the NDA alliance led by PM Modi with a gargantuan margin. Nitish kumar is set to take oath for third time in a row.
There are numerous reasons why this election was anticipated with such scrutiny and people waited for the results with bated breath which includes :-
- Old rivalry between Nitish and Modi.
- One of the oldest rivals in the history of Bihar politics came together after 20 years.
- Intolerance debate that was going on in entire nation.
- Bihar politics always influence the mood of nation.
- BJP desperately wanted to strengthen its hold in Rjya Sabha.
- It was a heated battle and both fronts left no leaf unturned to belittle the rivals.
On 11 August the JDU and RJD forged an alliance against the BJP, which came as a shock to many people across the nation but it proved to be the most salient step to decide the result of the election. Nitish Kumar along with BJP helped in the development of state in the previous regime till he broke the alliance with BJP. After suffering significant loss in Lok sabha elections, he gave up his CM post thus, presented an honest and development oriented image. On the other hand Lalu Yadav who is known for his caste based politics and is popular with Muslims, dalits and yadavs. These two were able to attract vote from all the classes of the society thus proved to be the exact counter needed towards the popular duo Modi-shah.
Mr Modi was the indisputable face of his party’s campaign in Bihar. He led the campaign, addressing 26 public meetings across the length and breadth of the state. What’s more, his trusted aide Amit Shah, who is also the BJP president and chief poll strategist, campaigned in the state and they hold more than 70 meetings. Mr Modi came to Bihar promising jobs and development in a reprise of the campaign which helped him to sweep to power in federal elections last year.
What went wrong for BJP in Bihar Election :
- Negative campaigning- During the lok sabha election the BJP campaign revolved around mainly two factors i.e development and good governance. However, the Bihar campaign started on the issue of development but it eventually turned into “condescending” and “vote-bank” politics. The jibe’s taken by Modi were too aggressive with harsh quotes such as “jungle-raj” “Bhimaru” that he tried to belittle all the efforts of previous government of which BJP was also a part. So he failed to take the credit even for his own party.
- Beef Trap, Hindutva and RSS- The atmosphere of whole nation was tensed by the communal events like Dadri ban, death over beef and ink thro-w. Lalu laid a trap for the BJP by provoking it on issues like beef ban and cow slaughter after the murder in Uttar Pradesh’s Dadri. Dadri was too far away from Bihar, but Lalu brought the issue home. The BJP took the bait and, instead of ignoring it, reacted and the actual issues of Bihar and the shortcomings of the Mahagathbandhan were lost in the din. Moreover, the statement from Rss chief over the need to review the reservation policy caused the most damage among Yadav and other backward castes, who control about 60% of the Bihar electorate. Prime Minister later tried to distance himself from the statement but till then two phases of election were over and damage was done.
- Week alliance partners:- BJP struck deals with Ram Vilas Paswan’s Lok Janshakti Party (LJP), former Bihar chief minister Jitan Ram Manjhi’s Hindustani Awam Morcha (HAM) and Rashtriya Lok Samata Party (RLSP).But these three alliance partners of the NDA clearly failed to match up to Prasad-Kumar combine. Out of the 83 seats contested by the three NDA partners, they could together manage only five seats, which came as a great setback for the BJP.
- Lack on strong local leadership:- BJP gambled everything it had on Narendera Modi, although he was popular among the people of Bihar but they realized that Narendra Modi will not be the CM of Bihar but rather choose the leader of his choice. Whole campaign revolved around Narendra Modi and Amit Shah which was criticized by the opposition but pulling out “Bihari or Bahari card”. Moreover BJP didn’t even appoint the CM candidate and the local leader and MP’s from Bihar – Shatrughan Sinha and RK Singh – aired their grievances in public, giving the impression that the BJP stands as a divided family. Sinha, a crowd puller, was not given an opportunity to campaign in even one of the 1,800 meetings that the BJP organised. And while they remain in the party, their conspicuous absence hasn’t helped.
- Underestimating Lalu’s importance and Nitish’s popularity:- Although Lalu faced corruption charges recently but you cannot ignore the dynamic personality of Lalu in Bihar to sway the votes of yadavs, dalits and Muslim. Moreover, Nitish was tried and tested as a CM and his several project of development and women empowerment received appreciation from large masses. Also their campaign were very well synchronized to counter the Modi’s influence among the people.
Impact of Bihar Election on Lok sabha elections 2019
During the election campaign we saw Lalu appealing to local parties of Uttar Pradesh i.e BSP and samajwadi party to join hands and build an anti Modi block for 2017 elections. The intention was clear, the regional parties along with or without congress will try to form a strong alliance against Modi for 2019. We saw the slight trailer of this during 2014 Lok sabha elections, when Arvind Kejriwal from AAP and Gaurav Bhatiya gave statements that “Neither BJP nor congress will from Govt but regional parties would come together to form Government”. There were also reports that Nitish Kumar wanted the post of PM and when BJP appointed Modi as their PM candidate he was baffled and thus broke the alliance with NDA. There is a huge possibility that UP and later Bengal will use the similar tactical alliance of regional parties to stop BJP. If this plan works, then in 2019 this trend will continue with parties from numerous states joining hands to form anti Modi alliance led by Nitish Kumar. As we know about the long rivalry between two and also because only he can be the face against the development oriented Narendra Modi. The position of congress is still unclear, it will depend on next 3 years. Depending on the popularity of the Congress at that particular time they will have to analyze their chances.