Bihar Elections: Can Tejashwi Yadav pull up the strings

Tejaswi Yadav is fielded by RJD as its CM candidate while Nitish Kumar is the CM candidate for the BJP backed NDA.

India is a land where the only constant is elections. Every year there are elections going on in India in some of the other states. One of the most interesting election, probably only second to Utter Pradesh in the Bihar elections. Bihar is a state with the most complex issues and multiple stakeholders in those issues, adding to the flavor we have some corona season special issues like migrant exodus, job loss, unemployment, and many more. It is the first state that is going to witness the polls in the post-covid times and the political scenario in the state is facing a different current. The chessboard of Bihar elections has been laid down and everyone is plotting their pawns carefully. On one hand, we have the grand NDA alliance with BJP and JD(U) being the major parties and on the other hand, we have the “Mahagathbandhan” type alliance with RJD being the prominent party.

Tejashwi Yadav is fielded by RJD as its CM candidate while Nitish Kumar is the CM candidate for the BJP backed NDA. RJD is known to have a stronghold on the Muslim majority areas as well as the SC/ST areas while the Nitish-led NDA alliance enjoys the support of forward castes along with EBCs and the Mahadalits. By added aggression in the Sushant Singh Rajput case, BJP is eyeing the “bumihar brahmin” votes too.

What happened in 2015 is very different from the political scenario prevailing in the state today. There is a strong anti-incumbency wave against the current CM Nitish Kumar, who is probably in the last leg of his political career. In an interesting development, LJP has declared that it is not going to contest the polls under the leadership of Nitish Kumar and there is an open war going between them. It is another interesting point that most of the senior BJP leaders are keeping mum on the ongoing tussle between the major scions of the NDA.

The Bihar politics this time is very crucial as it not just going to decide the fate of Bihar but also going to give direction to the politics within the NDA alliance. With Ram Vilas Paswan not there anymore, it will be interesting to see how Chirag Paswan will field his Chief ministerial ambitions. It is quite evident that Chirag Pawan has been hand-held by the scions of BJP in his tug war against the JD(U). BJP is vouching on LJP to become the single largest party in Bihar and by this move, it will succeed in subsuming JD(U) within itself which is already on a path of disintegration.

The RJD is also busy in carefully plotting its pawns and making sure that they don’t repeat their 2015 mistakes. In 2015, they gave 12 out of 40 seats to smaller parties but in 2020 Tejashwi Yadav has weeded out parties like HAM, RLSP, etc which were involved in a seat-sharing war with him. It is because of the fact that the leaders of these parties are very “opportunistic” and they failed to perform in the previous elections and were defeated.

Although the BJP is playing its fair share of the game and it fielding its “Vikas model” well but still the Hathras case in Utter Pradesh and the handling of the entire situation by the Yogi led BJP government might also play a role in the Bihar election on the issues of “Dalit” vs “Savarna” politics.

Overall, it can be concluded very safely that the Bihar election in the post covid times will be the mirror to the entire country which will throw a light on the issues that are persisting and the associated politics which come with it. It is going to be very interesting for people who know the political dynamics of Bihar and these results will also shape the upcoming national politics.

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Pragya Mishra

Senior columnist with interest in economy and government policies.

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