What was Bihar?
Bihar has been a karma bhoomi to many, Janak, Buddha, Chanakya, Mahatma Gandhi, and JP Narayan. The great empires of Guptas and Magadha eastablish there; Patliputra was then capital of the entire Indian subcontinent. Rabri Devi, no connection to names mentioned before also ruled the state for a while. Laloo did all he could to decimate his lineage, the history of this great land, but now he finds himself out of the Samosa, rather discarded. Bihar was fast becoming ignominy and disenchanted and embarrassing. Kidnapping and extortion had graduated from cottage industry to a thriving business proposition, right suffered at the hands of might. Laloo had, been there and done that. Absolute power corrupted absolutely.
But this is not about him. It’s about the people it’s about the Man who did the right things. They claim sweeping poll victories, but this particular Bihar election was truly something else. I haven’t seen such one side (for the good results). I mean going by purely numbers no one is worthy to be called an opposition coz they haven’t got even 1/10 of seats. This is a compulsive mandate.
Bihar was fast becoming everything that was ugly, feudal, and criminal. The political scenario was so dire that political satire was becoming vengeance. The tipping point was hit and everything changed for good. There are statistics, damn lies and poll arithmetic. But I wonder if Nitish Kumar, the leader who led the party back to the power again would have actually believe that he would get such numbers. It is a crown of thorns, Nitish Kumar must not falter.
The longest hour before dusk.
Bihar finds itself bottom of the table of every just account. It been pushed back into feudal time in a lost decade. Nitish may not turn Bihar into Japan in next five years, but would do well to stem the rot and get the system to move, give, there is scope there for sure, and some of the brightest minds come from Bihar. It would be interesting at what pace Bihar returns to normalcy i.e. come at par with national average w.r.t. to per Capita income, education health, etc.
The time is right to focus on nayi kahani, (new story). The system has started to work for the better. It is a long (and unpaved) road in Bihar; Nitish Kumar has to restore faith and hope. The people have showed their belief in him. He will pay in the long run. His intentions remain clean and clear and leadership founded on robust principle and virtues.
Of mandates and poll arithmetic.
Congress party of India remains master of poll arithmetics, amazing work for them. I know they last more than half the seats they held last time; they are down to four seats from nine. No it’s not the Rahul effect. It is something they do to their allies, frienmies is term used by one of a magazines. Laloo Prasad was one of the kingmakers of third front, and then a minister in the Congress led UPA. Congress seems to be mastering this poll arithmetic concept.
The did it in UP to Mulayam Singh Yadav, left parties in the last Lok Sabha polls, in Maharashtra to their ruling partners the NCP and to the opposition BJP and Shiv Sena. There are more examples, National Conference in Kashmir there are so many examples. Laloo did lose, but it would be interesting what would have been the results in the following scenarios
a. Laloo Prasad and Congress going forward with some seat sharing.
b. A swing of say 1% for argument sake from Congress to Laloo.
I must confess I don’t have the numbers. But I think Laloo would have between few seats richer and Congress would have got more seats. But fighting polls from all the 243 seats meant Congress would split votes away from Laloo, one vote less in elections means you are behind by two votes. This is a sample of how poll arithmetic works. Yes Congress did lose more than what they had but this has ensured Laloo would not much to fool about other than his poll result. This would make Laloo go back to the drawing board. Old dog new tricks kind of scenario.
This for Congress means one less nuisance creating coalition partner, Mulayam, Sharad Pawar, Left Parties have already been subdued.
I am not sure it is a trend but all indications are there, but increasingly where ever voting takes place hung mandate post poll alliances (read opportunities) would increasingly be a thing of the past. I find most of the state governments in India a pure majority at least the major ones, UP, Bihar, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Karnataka, MP, Bengal,AP, TN, I am sure these aren’t the only ones.
The nest state elections would be really fun.