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Updated: November 25, 2010 02:45 IST

Caste dynamics have taken a backseat: Nitish

Shoumojit Banerjee
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Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar at a press conference after the JD(U)-BJP alliance won the State elections, in Patna on Wednesday.
PTI Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar at a press conference after the JD(U)-BJP alliance won the State elections, in Patna on Wednesday.

Stating that caste has taken a backseat in electoral politics, Bihar Chief Minister and Janata Dal (United) leader Nitish Kumar on Wednesday said developmental politics, not caste dynamics, would determine Bihar's course in the future.

“It is a victory won by the people of Bihar, and not of any single person, party or alliance,” Mr. Kumar told journalists at his residence during the course of the counting process for the State Assembly polls.

The NDA alliance won a landslide victory securing 206 Assembly seats, with both the JD(U) and the Bharatiya Janata Party bettering their performances in the October 2005 Assembly polls by bagging 115 and 91 seats respectively.

Stating that “governance governs everything,” Mr. Kumar said the public's verdict had proved that the legislator who delivered on the ground secured votes.

Drastic voter surge

Noting the drastic voter surge in the elections, Mr. Kumar lauded the tremendous response given by women voters and those from the backward sections of society, while attributing the increase to the improved law and order situation brought about by the present NDA government.

He said the public had come to realise the value of its vote, as elections in the past were beset by voter apathy and booth-capturing incidents.

‘Surprised'

Mr. Kumar said he was pleasantly surprised by the overwhelming mandate given by the people, adding: “This only increases our responsibilities which we will conscientiously attempt to undertake.” Stating that he did not have “a magic wand,” he said he would work harder during the coming period to ensure that Bihar was a developed state by 2015.

Responding to questions on the future of the JD(U)-BJP alliance, Mr. Kumar brushed aside any speculation of a possible rupture.

“Our ties with the BJP are old. In 2005, we fought the polls together and had secured a solid mandate,” he said. “When the work is good on the ground, both parties equally stand to gain.”

On the Congress campaign in Bihar during the polls, he said the self-esteem of the State's public had been hurt with the Congress dubbing the Central aid given to Bihar as “their party's money.”

‘A mystery'

The Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD)-Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) combine, meanwhile, managed to secure barely 25 seats. RJD chief Lalu Prasad's wife and Leader of the Opposition in the Bihar Assembly, Rabri Devi, was trounced from the Raghopur and Sonepur Assembly seats by a huge margin of more than 10,000 votes in each.

“The NDA landslide is a mystery, one which merits an inquiry,” Mr. Prasad said, even as he congratulated Mr. Kumar for his victory, but refused to extend his wishes to the BJP.

Swearing in on Saturday

The newly-elected JD(U) and BJP legislators will hold independent party meetings on Thursday, which will be followed by a joint party meeting later in the day. The swearing-in of the new government will take place on November 27.

Atleast, people in other states should take a feather from Bihar and remove those corrupt and anti-people governments currently in power. I appeal to Tamil Nadu people that they should not accept any bribe for vote.

from:  Kannan. K
Posted on: Nov 25, 2010 at 16:27 IST

The election results in Bihar have shown the way. The development matters. All else is futile rhetoric. The rest of India should take a leaf from this and follow Bihar. A great turn for Bihar. Hearty Congratulations to Nitish and his group.

from:  S Laxmana Murthy
Posted on: Nov 25, 2010 at 07:36 IST

The people of Bihar have sent a clear message that their future is in their hands and that their destiny is their making. The practice of dividing votes on caste and religion is weakening, if voting pattern is of any indication. The disadvantaged and also Muslim brethren have sent a clear message that they have a hope for a bright future and there is a collective realisation not to be swayed by the emotional and persuasive speeches and propaganda but decide properly on merits at the time of elections. It is a defining moment and all Indians have to savour this electoral pattern. It is also a message to parties of all states that their gimmicks will not work for long and they have to revamp the strategies for the better.

from:  Ramesh Kumar Nayani
Posted on: Nov 25, 2010 at 06:44 IST

I think it is too premature to comment that caste based politics have ended. Don't forget that Nitish Kumar has attained this stature only because lower caste voters were organized and given an identity by the "Mandal" era politicians like Lalu Yadav, VP Singh and Karpuri Thakur. If there was no "OBC" movement at that time, Bihar would still have been ruled by the Mishras, Shastris and Sinhas. Nitish is also a by-product of that great movement. Paradoxically, it is Lalu Yadav who has paved the way for Nitish Kumar to become a state-level leader from the opposite side. If there was no Lalu, the upper caste, brahminical political system of India would never allow Nitish to assume the mantle of a leader. They needed someone like Nitish to counter Lalu. On the flip-side, Lalu (undoubtedly a great leader and a proven administrator) started to lose touch with the ground reality and the real people after a long stint at the Center. His nepotism also played a role in it. However, as long as right-wing BJP is in bed with Nitish, Lalu will have a place in Bihar's politics. As they say - "Jab thak rahega samosa me aloo, thab that rahega Bihar me Lalu" . I hope he will seriously review this election results and the preceding 5 years of his acts.

from:  nijam
Posted on: Nov 25, 2010 at 03:00 IST

I pray BJP learns lesson from Bihar and applies in the neighbouring state Jharkand, that good governence and development is always rewarded by people. If NDA can extend their outlook and approach to Jharkand, they will prove that their success is repeatable and applicable in other parts of the country.

from:  srinirao
Posted on: Nov 24, 2010 at 22:52 IST

The people have voted against caste based politics of the other parties. This bodes well for Bihar and hopefully people in other states also reject caste and religion based politics and concentrate on good goverannce and development

from:  krishna
Posted on: Nov 24, 2010 at 19:57 IST

Congratulation to Nitish Kumar for victory in Bihar. Nitish should also concentrate on the Bihar education systems.

from:  shahid
Posted on: Nov 24, 2010 at 19:45 IST
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