Understanding BIHAR’s upcoming assembly elections

Politically, tactically and symbolically, this is the most important election after 2014 General Elections.

The Bihar legislative assembly elections are due as the tenure of the current Legislative Assembly expires on 29 November 2015. It is pertinent to mention that the Janata Dal United (JDU), Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) and Samajwadi Party (SP) have announced to fight the election jointly under Nitish Kumar’s leadership under the JantaPariwar banner. This ‘secular alliance’, as they call it, is likely to be joined by Congress, NCP and also possibly TMC. This will take Modi-led BJP’s AshwamedhaYagna to its most crucial battleground.

Politically, tactically and symbolically, this is the most important election after 2014 General Elections.

Bihar’s electoral complexities

Whether we agree or not, Biharis are very astute as far as electoral politics is concerned; that their priorities get misplaced is just another concern. But you can trust them to be totally unlike Delhites.

For Biharis, it’s more about political space and pride than personal gains. No Land Acquisition Bill, ‘GharWapsi” or for that matter, any reforms are going to be the subject matter of this election. Social engineering is the most important factor in Bihar along with development and hope (created by Narendra Modi). The game plan in Bihar is to tailor the party’s political positioning into the caste matrix. Here is a breakup of the core voter base of each party:

Party Composition
RJD  Yadavs (14%)
JD(U) Koeris (5%) + Kurmis (4%) + Muslims (15%)
Congress No core voter base left, but will fetch 4-5per cent votes from the mixed bag.
BJP Majority of Upper Caste (18%) + Baniyas (7%)
LJP  Dalit (6%)
Deciders Mahadalits (10%) and Most Backward Caste (MBCs) (21 %)

The coalition of RJD, JDU and Congress for the by-polls for 10 Assembly seats in the state surprised many.However, these by-polls cannot be a performance evaluation of the Modi government at the Centre. However, it is a wake-up call for the state BJP leadership, which was still complacent. The whole campaign was mismanaged right from the beginning. “The most important reason of our poor performance is the complete disregard for forward castes in the party. It alienated our most loyal voters,” said a friend and party worker. This was also a notice to the Central Leadership of BJP that the forward castes are not very happy with Sushil Kumar Modi’s leadership.

The by-elections also signaled the return of Lalu Prasad as a major force in the state. His political acumen intact, LaluPrasad managed to bring together a political alliance to counter the rise of the BJP, earlier thought impossible. The outcome of the by-polls has raised clamor in the BJP to revisit its strategy for the upcoming Assembly elections. Whether the party learns from its mistakes remains to be seen. And everything might not be smooth for the RJD-JD(U)-Congress combine. If it decides to fight the Assembly elections as a single entity, choosing a leader acceptable to all sides will be its biggest challenge.

Bihar sliding downhill

The state, once touted as among India’s most promising emerging growth centers that had bettered other states in terms of growth in recent years, has fallen off the investors’ radar once again.

chartIssues like building roads and bridges, ensuring electricity to all households, creating jobs, providing an enabling ecosystem for new investment and innovation in governance have given way to tried and tested themes of social justice and communal-secular divide.

While Lalu is back to his old “Mandal Vs Kamandal” rhetoric, the BJP on the other hand, is harping on the return of the Jungle Raj, a euphemism for a period in Bihar’s politics dominated by Lalu Yadav. Bihar now stares at undoing whatever little it had achieved in the recent past. If they miss this chance, there is a danger of even the trickle of investment drying up. People of Bihar don’t understand fine data, but they do understand the repercussions very well.

Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)

Over the past couple of years and much before the 2014 elections, the demand for change at the center was loud and glaring. It was clear that Narendra Modi fits the bill both as the leader and deliverer of this change. This was the time when the people of Bihar were elated when Nitish Kumar served them a shocker by breaking the 17-year old alliance with the BJP that made Nitish the CM of Bihar. The people of Bihar have not forgotten this.

BJP chief Amit Shah and Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh began the campaign for the 2015 Assembly elections in Bihar with a mega rally of volunteers at Gandhi Maidan, Patna. Shah tried to woo the people of the state by remembering former chief minister Karpoori Thakur on Dalit icon Ambedkar’s birth anniversary. The overwhelming anger against Nitish Kumar’s personal ambition should ideally be enough to defeat the ruling JDU.

The BJP’s game plan to woo Dalits, Mahadalits and the most backward castes did work during 2014 general elections. Even at the height of the Ram Janmbhoomi movement such a large number of Dalits never voted for BJP anywhere in the heartland, let alone Bihar. The BJP’s success will again depend on how smartly it plays up the backward caste and the humble origins of Mr Modi and at the same time manages to hold on to the upper caste votes.

Another positive for the BJP is that after the party’s debacle in the Delhi elections, its ideological mentor the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) has reportedly stepped in to oversee its strategy in Bihar in a damage control mode. RSS functionaries are on a day-to-day meeting several BJP leaders to discuss the election and plans to monitor the BJP campaign in Bihar closely.

The Modi Factor 

The Modi wave in Bihar is not at the level of a frenzy but still remain unchallenged, speciallyamong the youth (forward, backward or Dalit). There is a great deal of curiosity about Mr Modi who has galvanized the youth looking for hope across castes. These voters who potentially cut across all caste lines will decide the fortunes of BJP in Bihar.

The Congress and others ranting against BJP and Modi repeatedly is only helping the electorate get polarized behind Modi. Nitish Kumar would possibly counter this by suggesting that while Modi rose from a humble background, he is now closer to corporates than to backward classes. However, it remains to be seen how far people will take him seriously.

The Nitish Factor

The past one year has been disastrous for Nitish Kumar, personally as well as politically. The crushing defeat in the LS elections cost him the CM’s post and forced him to ally with arch-rival Lalu Yadav. What’s more, his trusted lieutenant Jitan Ram Manjhi, turned against him. Mr. Kumar can now take some comfort from the fact that for the first time in many months, there are question marks about the BJP’s seeming invincibility after Delhi elections. Nitish Kumar and his new ally Lalu have so far relied heavily on countering what they see as a ‘communal’ BJP with a ‘social justice’ plank.

The Manjhi Factor

Jiten Manjhi was hand-picked by Nitish as his replacement assuming, what he termed, as “moral responsibility” when he quit last year following JDU’s rout in the LS polls. Nitish had handed over power to Manjhi, a leader from the unprivileged Musahar caste, to build a strong support base in this section.

However, Manjhi has landed both the leaders struggling for political survival in a lose-lose situation. With his exit from the party, JDU stands to lose the support of the Dalits who are around 21per cent of the state’s population. His bid to throw Manjhi out of his post with the support of Lalu has offended the community. Observers say the Nitish-Lalu plan to check the split in anti-BJP votes is in tatters now. The Nitish-Lalu combination will face a major blow after the exit of Dalits and will make the duo largely dependent on Muslim-Yadav-Kurmi caste. Upper castes left Nitish after he joined hands with Lalu.

manjhiThe full impact of Manjhi might be unclear today. However, one may safely assume that the manner in which a Mahadalit CM was hounded out by Nitish might just end up making the community distrustful of Nitish.

Janata Pariwar (JDU + RJD + Cong + NCP)

It is said, there are no permanent friends or foes in politics. Nowhere is this more evident than in Bihar. In the early 90s, RJD Supremo Lalu Yadav came to power, buoyed by Mandal politics and an anti-Congress sentiment. Yet, by the end of the decade, he was one of the strongest supporters of the Congress.

The RJD regime was overthrown by the JDU-BJP combine led by Nitish Kumar, credited for the turnaround of astate devastated by 15 years of massive corruption, extortion, kidnappings and mafia rule. The debacle in the 2014 elections forced Nitish Kumar and Lalu Prasad to bury their differences and join hands to take on the Modi led BJP.

janataThe BJP will battle the combined might of Nitish + Lalu + Mulayam + Pawar + Congress hoping to consolidate the Kurmi + Yadav + Muslim vote bank.

Equally, the anti-BJP media establishment seems to be hailing this ‘merger’ as a long overdue move to check the advancing juggernaut of the ‘communal forces’ that threaten to the ‘Idea of India’. The argument goes that it’s only in Bihar that the Janata Parivar coalition stands a realistic chance of stopping the BJP ‘Ashwamedha Horse’. I am sure pigs would fly before Deve Gowda can act as a force multiplier for Lalu or Mulayam or vice versa.

However, the majority of the Bihar junta today think that Nitish Kumar is responsible for Bihar’s current political crises. As a result of this merger, it looks like this will ensure a rise of Lalu again and complete decimation of Nitish Kumar and his JDU.

Such is the nature of politics that a man who was virtually invincible, and was being projected as a real prime ministerial possibility is today staring at political oblivion just for his one misstep provoked by ambitious secularism.

Other Key Ground realities

Assuming that a merger would ensure that the vote-share would be fully transferable based on arithmetical calculation would be foolish. We must also understand that the core voters of both Lalu and Nitish are more or less nontransferable to each other. Both Yadavs and Kurmis have been violently fighting against each other on the ground for the last two decades.

Lalu Yadav is a ruthlessly shrewd politician. It is important to remember that Lalu has plenty of reasons to hate Nitish on a personal basis as he has done more than enough to have him exiled from the political stage. Now even if one were to assume that the new Janata Parivar would defeat the BJP and indeed sweep to power, running a government, even with a clear majority would be difficult for both.

Giriraj Singh of Bihar has a high hit rate in delivering offensive remarks, but that hasn’t impeded his political growth.Mr. Singh remains unfettered by fear of real punishment because of his well-established proximity to BJP chief Amit Shah, who, for years, was hosted by Mr Singh when he visited the state.

When the BJP was deliberating in 2013 over whether to choose Mr Modi as its prime ministerial candidate, Mr Singh was among the leader’s most aggressively vocal champions despite being in the cabinet of the Nitish Kumar government and relentlessly attackedhim.

Giriraj Singh’s addition to the Union Government late last year was not detached from the approaching assembly election in Bihar. Mr. Singh belongs to the powerful and landed upper caste Bhumihar community, which has traditionally sided with the BJP. Bhumihars in Bihar are nearly 5-6per cent but are the most influential caste and even if there are only 10 houses in a village, they enjoy the authority and have ability to swing votes in their party/candidate’s favor.

BJP’s core voters appear unhappy with Sushil Modi. It would be a strategic mistake if the BJP opts to project him as CM candidate. Leaders of every community like Shahnawaz Hussain, Rajiv Pratap Rudy, Hukumdev Narayan, Ravi Shankar Prasad, et al should be jointly projected as campaign leaders along with Sushil Modi, Ram Vilas Paswan and Upendra Kushwaha. The most important factor still would be the ticket distribution. If the BJP manages to fine tune this at constituency level, it would be difficult for the opposition to reverse the mandate given only a year back.

At this point, as far as pure arithmetic is concerned, the constituents of the Janata parivar may look as the front-runners, but the ground realities suggest otherwise.

  • P. B. Josh

    Bihar had enjoyed (or suffered) fifteen years of Lalu-Rabdi. And now it is enjoying Nitish Kumar. One of the richest of states in India for natural resources is reduced to begging for special status. Bihar voters should understand one thing, enmity with central government will never bring about the special status they desire. Same with West Bengal, enmity with central government will not help them with their debt management.

  • Dr. MS

    Bihar is an interesting case study. And one, I suppose, that can reveal the worst of the “wounded, battered, battering, damaged Y chromosomes of Hindu majority and non-Hindu minority”.

    I wonder if the best of Hindus have been killed, marginalized and have migrated out of Bihar and few other neighboring States. This means the majority of voters, decision makers, powerful people and influential people are likely to be of “average or below average intelligence”…maybe even a bit intellectually disabled.

    Several IAS officer, stationed there from Odisha. Tamil Nadu and Kerala forty years ago, said, “The masses and the men in power in Bihar, with such low intelligence and a culture that brings down everyone to the lowest level of non-thinking survivalist sycophant behaviors, are prone to dictatorship, oppression, physical combat, petty ego clashes, violence and all kinds of perversions. They are not smart enough to be self aware, know their strengths clearly and confidently, and know their weaknesses humbly and honestly. Nor are they capable of listening, learning, discussing and communicating intelligently…at the level of complexity and diversity that democracy deserves or even good leadership deserves. If they are the majority expect the “same-ole same-ole” or Sub-Saharan like conditions.”

    That was forty years ago.

    One Bihari, who married a South Indian, and hates Bihar said, “How does one evolve male monkeys in a human body? They are not going to change with therapy, counseling or re-education. It is a gone case. Put 50% in jail, send them to a Gulag or bomb them”.

    Ouch, bad solution in a democratic Ahimsa country. But Bihar’s educational system is horrible. I met students from there in 2015 who cannot read or write at the 7th standard level…and they have Masters degree! Goddess help this country.

    These States consume India’s resources, produce nothing, will be a constant liability, drag our progress down, bring women’s status to the level of Waziristan….and the intruders, invaders and colonialists love them.

    What is the direct clear effective solution? Great analysis…what is the solution?

    • Sree Charan R

      I recently met a person in a local bus in Bengaluru, who said that he is from Bihar;his profession being an electrician.After a bit of conversation, I asked him,with my previous information,”how come so many skilled electrician are there in Bengaluru, from Bihar and Jharkhand?”.He replied,in a tender smile,that “we in Bihar have rarely seen electricity, and hence we became the masters of Electricity !!” That sums up the whole issue.
      The very word Bihar comes from “Vihar” which means “a place where knowledge flows”; since, in the good old days there were more that 10 Universities in that state.The answer lies in identifying them as national citizens, who have equal share in the nation`s responsibilities and rights; and that they too are epitomes of progress, who are not only consumers of resources, but also producers with thinking capabilities.By identifying them with “who they are”.
      Thank You

      • Dr. MS

        I am so glad you are doing that, Kindly do not follow me on the net. I told you that. Are you sympathetic to only electricians, and not women who make a request?

        • Sree Charan R

          I strictly cannot understand these complexes.But I am not following anyone on the net, anytime and every time.I am just reading the article and comments;and commenting on those comments which I feel are wise and mature in nature.Repeating again, I am not following you;for I do not know anything about you or anyone else.
          Thank You

  • Indian

    In addition use Dalit Leaders like Manjhi and Udit Raj to devastating effect.RAISE THE ISSUE OF ILLEGAL BANGADESHIS and how they have siphoned crores of Bihar’s money with the help of sonia and her shit eating slaves Mulayam, Mamta and Nitish. the death of children by poisoning in school by Nitish Kumar (Natasha kumari for K.C.TYAGI) should be branded for what it is ORGAN TRADING BY NITISH, LALOO AND ITALIAN MAFIA for whites benifit. ALSO TELL PEOPLE OF BIHAR AGGRESSIVELY HOW THEIR women were saved from depraved deranged Bangaldeshi, Pakistani and above all IATLIAN HORDES from gang rapes which this ITALIAN IMPOSTER SONIA wanted to legalise through the terrorist “communal violence act” whereby if a Hindu tried to protect his women( or a Muslim man tried to protect his women in case of degenerate white skinned specially Italian Rascal) tried to rape them , Police would have hounded the protector .Get it straight SOW-NIA and ilk want to convert India into a RAPEGAH for white skins and christians. Communal Violence Bill and the support of Congis to terrorists (NIA report that SOW-NIA forbade Police to tack terrorists till Mumbai attacks). Tell people that IM = INDIAN MUJAHIDEEN = ITALIAN MAFIA is a CONGRESS-ITALIAN outfit to kill Hindus so that Hindu-Muslim war erupts and India breaks and becomes slave of Italy (she cannot play christians against Hindus right now except NE as christians are still a numerically not matched up sufficiently despite 10 years of Vatican’s “Harlot rule”). Muslims and Hindus both are under danger as she wants to use Muslims as cannon fodder. USE FDI IN MULTI BRAND RETAILING TO KILL INDIAN SMALL BUSINESSES and Medieval Inquisition against Hindu saints AND the support extended by these PIGS who now bark for ‘Mandal’. These rascals will surely loose their skull caps. However, move aggressively against corrupt media mafia and judiciary and get Laloo in jail for 5-10 years after that

  • Indian

    To wipe this SOBB Laloo and his SAMADHI Mulla Mulayam its very easy to break his MANDAL RANT AND WIPE HIM FOR EVER
    1. BJP should aggressively put to people of Bihar the anti Hindu nature of these pit vipers Laloo, Nitish and Mulayam. These pit vipers or better Gutter Pigs sided and voted for the FOREIGN ITALIAN CHRISTIAN NAZI SONIA when she gave ‘scholarships’ TO “ONLY” MINORITY STUDENTS to the Tune of Rs 10000 crore of Tax MONEY (She a born begger working as a immoral uncultured BARMAID would evidently not bring it on her own, the gutter born begger from slums of Italy), the minorities including the richest Parsi community and second richest christian community. However Poor Hindu Dalits, Mahadalits and MBC were left in the Lurch, so that missionary vultures could harvest them. AND MULAYAM AND LALOO THE TWO RUNNING DOGS OF FOREIGN MAFIOSI AND MAYAWATI SUPPORTED THIS GENOCIDAL ATROCITY

    2. SONIA and ilk claim of giving reservations in IITs. Now tell the people of Bihar that this same FOREIGN ITALIAN NAZI GOON raised the fees of IIT 1000%, so who will benifit from these reservations. Only children of likes of Chara Chor Laloo, but sadly his children are dumbass goons

    3.Go after sonia, rahul and their foreign antecedents and Massive Corruption.KEEP THEIR SCANDALS AND NAZI GOONDAISM IN parliament TO PEOL,E Tell people of Bihar aggressively, that with huge mineral wealth and good water and soil resources Bihar would be rich state BUT for the likes of Corrupt Mafia Raj of Laloo and his keep Nitish (K.C.TYAGI IT SHOULD BE NATASHA KUMARI ) and Mulayam


    IF they lack they should pick from the best from sites like India-facts, Jagrit Bharat

    • Uma

      Boy! you are one angry Indian. I share your anger too.

      The sad truth is the electorate does not seem to understand. Look at what happened at Delhi. How can anyone in their right minds vote a crook like AK who has never achieved anything? Similarly, in Bihar, how can people trust a convict enough and let him regain popularity? It isn’t as if a judgement hasn’t been pronounced against him for people to assume that he’s not guilty unless proven otherwise. Besides, people do know about the Jungle Raj times and yet they are willing to rally behind him? I cannot understand.

      Each day until the LS election results, I feared that these pack of wolves will have chance to feast. But thankfully, God showed some mercy and we have got a patriot (not a jingoist) at the helm.

      Edward Murrow said, “A nation of sheep will beget a govt. of wolves! Let’s hope that Biharis reject this pariwar of wolves or else they will be eaten.

  • Dr. MS

    The men in the photo, smiling, hugging and laughing, appear to be wearing the Taqiyah which is Arabic for a certain kind of topi.

    A Muslim friend, quoting Wikipedia I think, said, “This head topi or skull cap is worn for religious purposes. Muslims believed that Muhammad used to keep his head covered, therefore making it mustahabb (meaning ‘commendable’), hence all Muslims try to wear it in order to emulate him. Muslims often wear them during the five daily prayers”.

    Much of Bihar has something called: Islamic Hinduism or Islamized HInduism. What does that mean? Could someone explain this?

    • Indian

      There is Nothing called Islamised Hinduism in Bihar, however the christian anti national worshippers of the Dead Jew hanging from a Torture instrument troll everywhere. The religion of Blood and Gore and the Virgin coveting Infernal revengeful god, TM ed by the Vilest Heads of Murder Inc sitting in Vati-can, many Popes known for incest with own sisters with One having children from OWN MOTHER (Read christian fanatic Wikipedia itself). I have not seen any Islamised Hinduism in Bihar,while a foreign christian nazi knows that for Italian benifit better.
      The men in Photos are the Two Great Anti national Italian shit eating gutter pigs Laloo and Nitish. Today one of Nitish’s dog, K.C.Tyagi (he does not use his MF baptism name) tried to create controversy over Ayurvedic Medicine “Putrajeevak”, a man who cannot even win a Panchayat seat from his own village, so is in Rajya Sabha, he wanted to attract the attention of FemiNazis and help his Italian Boss who would have given him RESPECT to eat the shit of her dog, white dog. He was eminently backed by the Bollywood dancer of yesteryears Jaya Bacchan of Mulla Mulayam Party. BOTH THESE B…tds NEED to be taught some history as they both are street one goon and another a street dancer. K.C. TYAGI (whatever his converted MF name) should ask his Boss Nitish to change his NAME TO NATASHA KUMARI if he is so eager on Putrajeevak. and this was the same man in whose constituency the GOONS OF THAT DEMON MULAYAM BUTCHERED UTTRAKAHNDI UNARMED PEACEFUL PEOPLE GOING TO DELHI AND RAPED HUGE NUMBER OF WOMEN..THIS MULAYAM WHO SHOULD HAVE BEEN IN JAIL FOR EVER NOW UNDER POCSA FORMS A “MANDAL COALITION”