Eleven reasons why BJP Lost Bihar
Eleven reasons why 'Bihar Struck Back' and routed out the BJP.
Hardnews Bureau, Delhi
Our last cover story was titled ‘Bihar Strikes Back!' We take great pride in the fact that we were prescient about the Bihar assembly elections outcome. In our reckoning, there are eleven reasons why ‘Bihar struck back’ against Prime Minister's Narendra Modi's idea of development and his view of Bihar and its DNA.
1) It was a vote of the poor, women and the underprivileged
Lalu Prasad Yadav today thanked the women and the poor, calling this as their victory. An election of the backward castes versus the forward castes, it can be seen as the marginalised exerting their preference
2) A Secular Vote
Cows, Pakistan and the removal of the mask of BJP being a party of development, but their attempts to polarise Bihar on communal lines backfired. Ministers in the central government and other MP’s from the BJP made non-stop, vocal efforts to take the direction of the campaign to spaces that were unpalatable to the Biharis.
3) Failure to implement electoral promises made during the Lok Sabha elections
In their naivety, the Bihar electorate bought the falsehood of the promises made by PM Modi during his Lok Sabha campaign. One such promise of bringing back black money and filling the accounts of the poor compelled the BJP to admit that these were nothing but hollow promises.
4) Nitish Kumar: The ‘Vikas Purush.'
'Nitish is Bihar, and Bihar is Nitish’ was a common phrase we encountered while travelling through the state. His persona and the work he has done for Bihar was appreciated and applauded. Not many had any complaints about Nitish Kumar's contribution to the development of the State.
5) The Gathbandhan: A Winning Formula
The Gathbandhan allowed the three parties to attack the BJP simultaneously on different fronts. Lalu with his caste jibes and gimmicks made a spectacle of the PM. Rahul Gandhi continued his attack on the PM as a man who has misled the nation with false promises, and Nitish presented himself, and the work he has done in the past ten years of his government.
6) A quicker, sharper, better grounded and cleverer campaign management.
Each rally began with the names of all the three parties workers in each district. The posters repositioned Nitish as the only contender for the post of Chief Minister, forcing the PM Narendra Modi to fall to the level of a political aspirant, and campaigner. Quick responses to accusations, songs, rath yatras with greater emphasis on the coalition created an environment of cooperation rather than aggression. The backtracking of the campaign of the BJP also really sent the message home.
7) An anti-Bihar rhetoric
The question about the DNA of a Bihari started the BJP campaign off on the defensive. Nitish Kumar, Lalu Yadav are sons of the soil and makers of modern Bihar each fulfilling a specific role and have attained cult status. In comparison Modi's aggression, the comparison between Gujarat and Bihar felt like condescension. It seemed like the state was held to ransom by the Modi and the election of the BJP.
8) To reserve or not to reserve
Hindu society is caste-ridden, and some sections are more backward than the rest. An upper caste tint to the BJP campaign aided by the comments of RSS leader Mohan Bhagwat and this in turn the society. This attempt to fracture the society also failed, as the upper caste also voted for the Gathbandhan.
9) A Bipolar Election
Initially, the election didn't seem like one between the NDA and the Gathbandhan, but one between multiple alliances and parties. The third front led by the SP, and the Owaisi phenomenon together, were seen factors that would affect the voting patterns. Eventually, however, the election boiled down to one and was seen as a contest between the two.
10) Failure to project a Chief Ministerial Candidate
One the major factors responsible for the failure of the BJP was the lack of local faces in their campaign as well failure to field and nominate a Chief Ministerial candidate to counter Nitish Kumar.
11)Internal Sabotage within the BJP
The central leadership of the party has ignored Bihar BJP’s state workers. Leaders like Shatrughan Sinha and R K Singh have continued to criticise the party for selling tickets. There are reports of massive internal sabotage by party workers against the heavy-handed imposition by Modi-Shah combine.