Lalu Raj, Nitish Raj & Now Modi Raj
Bihar CM’s Development Card Fails to Fetch Votes
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
VOTE SHARE (%)
RJD CHIEF I will not congratulate Modi. At the same time , I will continue to fight the communal forces till my
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.