IF JDU-RJD-CONGRESS ALLIANCE GETS CLEAR MANDATE IN BIHAR?

WHAT IT TELLS ABOUT NATION’S POLITICS AND SOCIETY..

Given the fact that the broad issues that the Bihar elections are pinned on revolve around caste, religion and community arithmetic, the outcome of the polls will be interesting to watch for how they would affect the further political discourse in the country on some issues doing rounds in the national consciousness.

— The poll result will, first of all, tell vehemently that the Delhi poll debacle was not an aberration but was a clear indication of things and days to come – an ominous signal which was conveniently ignored by BJP. The logic will be supported well by BJP’s poor show in Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra civic polls which preceded the ‘no-go’ in Bihar.

— The most worrying social aspect of it is that the country is indeed going through a rough patch with real threat of communal and caste-based flare-ups if the fringe elements and intolerant voices are not reined in now.

— The message will be that people are not taking developments like FTII row or appointments to other institutions, JNU row, reservation policy row or the ongoing legacy wars to claim legacies of the political luminaries from the country’s past.

— It will be a direct testimony on BJP’s performance. The message will be that the NDA government, so far, has failed to perform effectively on its promises of governance and development. BJP lost even in Jayapur in Panchayat polls, a village adopted by Narendra Modi in his parliamentary constituency Varanasi. It will further reinforce the demand that people need concrete development now, not even a blueprint will do.

— Narendra Modi will need to do some serious thinking about his political branding and imagery now, given the fact that the Bihar assembly election was basically a direct personal fight between Narendra Modi and Nitish Kumar, the chief minister of Bihar from JDU. Nitish had left the JDU-BJP alliance in Bihar on NDA’s projection of Narendra Modi as its prime-ministerial candidate and had stepped down after JDU’s crushing defeat in the Lok Sabha election last year. Also, it is not about other BJP leaders but about Narendra Modi. People have given BJP absolute majority because of Narendra Modi and Narendra Modi will obviously be worried about his political legacy.

— We can soon see Shiv Sena walking out of the BJP-Shiv Sena alliance in Maharashtra. The alliance has been in consistent controversies ever since the two old alliance partners came together again last year. Shiv Sena, the big brother-turned-humiliated-junior partner in Maharashtra is freshly recharged from its gains in Maharashtra civic polls, the first big shot post Maharashtra assembly polls in 2014, the polls in which BJP has performed poorly. The ongoing war of words between Uddhav Thakeray, the Shiv Sena chief, and Devendra Fadnavis, the Maharashtra chief minister, may precipitate into something big soon.

— The outcome will make it mandatory for BJP to do course correction with its politics, especially in the light of the upcoming assembly elections in Punjab (2016) and Uttar Pradesh (2017) – with realizations and changed requirements post the debacle in the Bihar assembly polls. BJP’s alliance with SAD in Punjab is not so smooth and the party has lost every subsequent election in UP after the grand show in the Lok Sabha election in May 2014.

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/

IF NDA GETS CLEAR MANDATE IN BIHAR?

WHAT IT TELLS ABOUT NATION’S POLITICS AND SOCIETY..

Given the fact that the broad issues that the Bihar elections are pinned on revolve around caste, religion and community arithmetic, the outcome of the polls will be interesting to watch for how they would affect the further political discourse in the country on some issues doing rounds in the national consciousness.

— The outcome will convey the message that the situation is not as bad as is being projected – that the ‘growing culture of intolerance’ or ‘strengthening fringe voices’, though disturbing, are not disturbing enough to affect the electoral mindsets yet – something that is the primary or the only electoral concern of every political outfit.

— Or there has been no such atmosphere on the ground expect some standalone incidents and what has been presented so far on this front, is basically a splendid political imagination and propaganda.

— That, BJP’s humiliating loss in the Delhi assembly polls was more an aberration than a trend – and that BJP is performing well on its promises. The party would then emphatically like to convey that Delhi’s loss was basically due to ‘lock stock and barrel’ transfer of Congress votes to Aam Aadmi Party and not due to its ‘alleged’ non-performance in Delhi through the Lieutenant-Governor’s office or due to the negative impact that the growing fringe voice brought home. To support this, the party has in its courtyard the evergreen logic that its vote share remained the same, even if it could register win in just three assembly seats.

— That, the country’s society is getting more open about the ‘reservation debate’ – that the widespread social feeling is in sync with the deepening perception that the ‘whole affirmative action policymaking’ needs an overhaul now – after decades of ‘status quo’ compromised by political compulsions.

— That Narendra Modi is still the most popular political leader of India and still commands people’s trust.

— That BJP still has better chances to fight and win the 2017 Uttar Pradesh assembly polls, something that will further bolster its claims to retake the Indian Parliament again in 2019 General Elections.

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/

BIHAR POLLS: ‘MAKE OR BREAK’ FOR POLITICAL DISCOURSE IN INDIA

Bihar assembly polls are, no doubt, make or break for many – for Nitish Kumar, for Sharad Yadav, for Lalu Yadav and for a humiliated Congress that is desperately trying to find that elusive way that can put it back on the path to revival.

But Bihar polls are also a ‘make or break’ proposition for the ‘overall health’ of the political discourse in the country – a discourse that has been sullied much in last one year or so.

Yes, in the prevailing political scenario in the country, and based on that – at least 10 years from now, India has no other political figure but Narendra Modi to look to. We can safely say so, going by the current realpolitik of the country, that India has no other leader than Narendra Modi who can be a prime-ministerial stuff.

And it is because of Narendra Modi’s image as an efficient administrator, as an adept marketer and as a clean politician that has ‘efficiently’ spoken for his controversial political past.

India is the world’s largest democracy, in fact, is a robustly functional one – and therefore, it has to be run politically – by politically elected representatives – that happens in a democracy.

The electorate largely found that Narendra Modi was the best hope for India – in May 2014 – when the country was reeling under the mess created by the previous political establishment.

Narendra Modi remains the best and in fact the only person to steer India ahead – in these tumultuous political currents and undercurrents.

Provided he clears the way ahead.

Provided he efficiently scuttles the political undercurrents emerging now.

The way ahead that now looks chocked and bottlenecked – in the first 17 months of the Modi government.

Narendra Modi is clean but same cannot be said about political corruption and bureaucratic apathy. Yes, no one had expected any miracle but people need some blueprint now.

Claims now need to go beyond ‘mere claims’ and ‘tokenisms’ – to clear ‘imprints’ of the road ahead. People now don’t buy political promises beyond a point and BJP saw it in Delhi with a humiliating and deafening poll loss.

It is not about which ideology the person belongs to. It is fair enough that institutions will have more persons with rightwing affiliations as this ideology is in government now – and every government does so – at least in India of the day that is beset with that sort of political culture. But that should never be the pretext to fill the ranks with inefficient people like Gajendra Chauhan for that matter, the vice-chancellors of many central universities.

And above all, Narendra Modi must now quell the fringe voices that have been vitiating the social fabric of the country – a country that saw a bitter, bloody partition – based on two religions. He must control and suppress fanatic and religiously bigoted voices. He must ruthlessly abort any more attempts to affect the atmosphere of tolerance in the country. He must clearly say a ‘big no’ now to political and politically-religious elements on the prowl.

The nation has enough of beef politics and ‘cow politics’. It must stop now. Cow has always been, in every age, revered by the Hindus and they don’t need politicians and religious leaders to remind them of their duty (or preference).

BJP and Narendra Modi need to see the Delhi poll debacle in the light of these ‘facts’. If they still consider the Delhi outcome as an aberration, it may prove out to be a costly mistake in Bihar.

A loss in Bihar would push BJP to introspect on these 17 months, on voices on the prowl in these 17 months, on disturbing trends that have disturbed the society, that have disturbed a nation.

On the contrary, a BJP win in Bihar may embolden such elements even further, vitiating the atmosphere even more, engulfing our multi-religious society even further.

A BJP win in Bihar assembly polls may further take such political drifters and fringe elements away from Narendra Modi’s control.

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/

BIHAR POLLS: THE WATCHABLE ELEMENTS

1. Everyone is saying Bihar polls are again going to be caste-based and the outcome will be caste-driven. But is the growing middle class going to play a different tune – away from the caste asthmatics – to assert a new identity that may be amorphous in nature sociologically but craves for everything that revolves around development that could better their lives?

2. Nitish Kumar promoted the concept of ‘Bihari Ashmita’ or Bihari Identity/Bihari Pride like Narendra Modi did with Gujarati Pride and Identity. But after aligning with Lalu Prasad Yadav, is Lalu’s corruption taint going to make the class, conscious about Bihari Ashmita, apathetic to Nitish Kumar?

3. Who will emerge out the real claimant of ‘Bihar Ashmita’ if it happens to be a major factor in the polls – Nitish Kumar for representing the Bihar government during last 10 years (barring Jitan Ram Manjhi), the time during which Bihar has certainly been able to come out of the administrative apathy synonymous with the Lalu-Rabri rule of 15 years – or the BJP which was an equal party with the Janata Dal (United) in governing Bihar for eight years?

4. Based on poll outcome – if the counting day falls any time around Chhath, that is on November 17, would it affect the decision of Biharis to stretch their visit a bit longer? Also, Diwali is on November 11, and if the last phase, if the Bihar polls are to be a multi-phased one, falls near Diwali, will the Bihari voters make it a point to include the last phase in their extended Diwali and Chhath holidays?

5. Regular diaspora case studies – people living outside Bihar – in different states – even outside India – how they see these polls, especially after Nitish has parted ways with the BJP and is going along with his sworn enemy Lalu Prasad Yadav, who is a convicted person now?

6. Flavour of the poll season – the familiar musclemen in the poll fray – directly or through their wives (or kin) – the possible names doing rounds – the names that could be announced to represent different political outfits – and it will be across the party lines.

7. Important to see how the Yadav votes behave after Lalu Prasad (Yadav) led RJD vehemently pushed for Anant Singh’s arrest, a muscleman and an influential Bhuimhar MLA.

8. Extending that ‘Yadav voting trend’ – it is important to be seen how the Bhumihar voters vote? Bhumihars may be less in number but they are the biggest land owners there. It is important to see if they see Anant Singh and similar episodes as humiliating enough and work to defeat Nitish Kumar, an OBC leader.

9. Emergence of Jitan Ram Manjhi and its impact on Dalit and Mahadalit votes and the pre-poll and thus post-poll political equations accordingly – Jitan Ram Manjhi’s chief-ministerial ambitions and the subsequent seat sharing talks with the National Democratic Alliance.

10. And the usual, most talked about factors – caste and religion – how would they behave – anti-BJP and NDA block would try to corner Muslim votes and a secular alliance of Congress-JD(U)-RJD expects to perform well here. The real fight would for Dalit and Mahadalit votes after Jitan Ram Manjhi has emerged as an important claimant. Also, Nitish Kumar cannot solely claim the OBC votebank constituency as Narendra Modi is also an OBC leader who exploited well this factor in the Lok Sabha election campaign.

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/

TODAY’S COMING TOGETHER OF JANATA PARIVAR HAS TO BE SEEN IN THIS CONTEXT..

It is a ‘parivar’ where family members want to maintain their own homes, their own signs and their own identities. And while wanting to do so, the resourceful of them want to impose what they are, on others, expecting that others would follow the suit.

Unlike a family, they are still together, waiting for the signs to emerge that who can claim the stewardship, who can push for the symbol and who can draw the identity mileage.

That is the story of ‘Janata Parivar’, a group of six political outfits – Samajwadi Party (SP), Janata Dal-United (JDU), Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD), Om Prakash Chautala’s Indian National Lok Dal (INLD), H. D. Devegowda’s Janata Del-Secular (JDS) and Samajwadi Janata Party (SJP), the party of former prime minister Chandashekhar – that trace their origin the once relevant Janata Dal (JD).

The three most important parties of this ‘Parivar’ are from Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, the two Hindi heartland states with huge populations and therefore powerful legislative equation at state level and in Parliament.

UP has the SP government where elections are due in early 2017 and Akhilesh Yadav’s government will be facing huge anti-incumbency. JDS is limited only to Karnataka, INLD to Haryana. SJP is just in records. It doesn’t exist politically. Bihar has the JDU government. Elections are due in the state in few months and JDU is finding it difficult to fight to retain the chief-minister’s chair in spite of the development claims by its Chief Minister Nitish Kumar. The RJD, that has ruled the state for many year, is fighting the survival battle after court-conviction of Lalu Prasad Yadav. Except the JD(U), all these parties are family businesses, run like that only.

And all these parties are facing threat of being pushed out of power or being made irrelevant by the Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP). The BJP’s clear mandate in Lok Sabha elections, its sweeping performance in UP and Bihar and its impressive victories in states like Haryana, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh, among others, created a challenge before the political spectrum to handle what was facing them.

Political parties including Congress are answering it with their own devised methods. These parties opted to merge under the banner of the JD to present a formidable front that was strong enough to take on the BJP, even if they had taken separate routes to promote personal egos and personal interests.

Lalu and Nitish have been long-time rivals in Bihar and the RJD’s ‘jungleraj’ used to be main campaigning plank of Nitish Kumar and the BJP. That was until the BJP was in alliance with the JDU. Now, Lalu and Nitish are together, and are the main targets of the BJP.

Well, we never expected Indian politics to play out ethical games. Every outfit is engaged in taking pragmatic moves to further political interests, including political survival.

Today’s announcement by the ‘Janata Parivar’ of ‘contesting Bihar polls together’ is an extension of those efforts.

We heard a long ago that these six outfits, having their origin in the JD, would merge and form a new party. As expected, nothing has moved on this front. There are issues like ‘name and symbol’ of the new outfit. Obviously, the party with strongest electoral presence will leverage the position better. Outcome of the Bihar polls will be a logical way to assess that. If Nitish makes a comeback, the decision will shift to the UP polls (as expected). If the JDU doesn’t perform well in these polls, the SP may gain the upper hand.

So, it’s a wait and watch game – for them, for other political folks..and for us.

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/