Lalu Raj, Ni­tish Raj & Now Modi Raj

Bi­har CM’s De­vel­op­ment Card Fails to Fetch Votes

The Economic Times - - Pure Politics - ASHOK MISHRA

TheNDApow­ered­bytheNaren­dra Modi wave struck gold in Bi­har, ex­ceed­ing all ex­pec­ta­tions. In the process, both the RJD-led al­liance and the rul­ing JD(U) took a se­vere beat­ing. Apart from the Modi wave, an­other fac­tor that ac­counted for the much-im­proved per­for­mance of the NDA in Bi­har was the counter po­lar­iza­tion due to the bid for con­sol­i­da­tion of the Mus­lim-Ya­dav (MY) vote in favour of the RJD. As a re­sult, RJD chief Lalu Prasad, who was ex­pected to of­fer stiff re­sis­tance to the BJP, took a big hit. BJP leader Giriaj Singh’s con­tro­ver­sial state­ments tar­geted against Mus­lims also emerged as an im­por­tant f ac­tor. It led Mus­lims to con­sol­i­date be­hind Lalu Prasad, hurt­ing chief mi n i s t e r N i t i s h Ku­mar’s hope of at­tract­ing a size­able sec­tion of the com­mu­nity. The script in fact went hor­ri­bly wrong for the chief min­is­ter who broke from the BJP cal­cu­lat­ing this would earn him the g o o d wi l l o f the Mus­lim com­mu­nity. The RJD chief in­stead ap­peared a bet­ter bet for those op­posed to Modi with his solid hold over the Ya­davs and seemed to be best suited for the job of de­feat­ing BJP. Ya­davs ac­count­for14%of the­p­op­u­la­tion,are in­tensely po­lit­i­cal and vote as a block. Af­ter 15 years of hege­mony un­der Lalu-Rabri raj, they suf­fered po­lit­i­cal marginal­iza­tion. The feel­ing of em­pow­er­ment made them ag­gres­sive as they sensed a chance of muscling their way back to po­lit­i­cal cen­tre-stage. The con­sol­i­da­tion of Mus­lims BJP INC SEATS

BJP INC LJSP RJD

2014* JDU Rest

2009**

VOTE SHARE (%)

BJP

INC

LALU PRASAD

RJD CHIEF I will not con­grat­u­late Modi. At the same time , I will con­tinue to fight the com­mu­nal forces till my

last breath

how­ever helped BJP in a big way be­cause there was cor­re­spond­ing ral­ly­ing of the ranks among Hin­dus. A split in Mus­lim votes would also have helped the party, which is al­lied with LJP and RLSP. At the same time, there were lim­its to what the RJD chief could have done in at­tract­ing sup­port be­yond the MY com­bi­na­tion. The law­less­ness and mis-gov­er­nance as­so­ci­ated with his regime are still fresh in the mem­o­ries of the people . The re­turn of Lalu can be in­tim­i­dat­ing for those who reeled un­der Ya­dav raj, es­pe­cially the ex­tremely back­ward castes (EBCs) and Ma­hadal­its. The up­per castes of course did not showany­in­cli­na­tionto align with him as they were largely driven by the NaMo fac­tor . The f a c t t hat t he BJP stitched a caste coali­tion with al­lies such as Ram Vi­las Paswan and Upen­dra Kush­waha helped in aug­ment­ing party’s tra­di­tional base amongthe­up­per­castes and Vaishyas. As for Ni­tish Ku­mar, he was ex­pected to face a rout be­cause this elec­tion was all about Modi--ei­ther you were seen op­pos­ing him or sup­port­ing him--and the Bi­har chief min­is­ter some­how could not find a space for him­self in this elec­tion. His much-touted de­vel­op­ment card failed to catch the imag­i­na­tion of the elec­torate in an elec­tion that was meant to elect a govern­ment at the Cen­tre.

Ku­mar was made to look like a by­stander in the whole elec­tion. Things would have been very dif­fer­ent for the CM if the mi­nori­ties had backed him but that not be­ing the case a large chunk of his EBC and Ma­hadalit vote­bank opted for the BJP, in re­ac­tion to MY con­sol­i­da­tion. The net-net gainer was the BJP.

LJSP

RJD

JD(U)

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