Bihar

Bihar Assembly polls | 2 different dynasts in fray

Nikhil Mandal, grandson of B P Mandal. File   | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

In the three decades since the implementation of the Mandal Commission recommendations by the V.P. Singh government, the face of heartland politics has changed beyond recognition, and some surnames that dominated those years are in the fray in the current Bihar Assembly polls, albeit in different ways.

Also read: Bihar Assembly election: Congress ‘sings’ migrants ‘anger’

In Madhepura, Nikhil Mandal, grandson of B.P. Mandal, is fighting the polls for the first time on a Janata Dal (U) ticket.

Mr. Mandal, who entered politics via the student union route in Delhi University 20 years ago, took a sabbatical for a stint in the corporate sector as a banker. “But I was always interested in being with people and my friends used to call me ‘Nokia’ because of the tagline, ‘connecting people’. In 2005, my father was fighting the polls, and those were scheduled for around March, when banks rarely give leave. It was a stark choice before me, and I gave up the job and moved here to get into public service,” he says. Then came five years of drifting in Bihar, and some serious existential questions. “My friends told me to meet Nitish Kumarji and when we met, he told me to join his party and I was appointed a spokesperson.”

Conscious of his legacy, Mr. Mandal says he has faint memories of his grandfather, but has been told that he was, till the end, hopeful of seeing the recommendations made by him implemented by the Government of India. He does not believe, as many do, that India has entered a post-Mandal politics with the domination of the BJP. “What has happened in 30 years is a whole lot of change, but that change to endure and deepen, the twin forces of education and employment must see tenets of social justice implemented in full measure,” he says.

Also read: Bihar assembly elections | A dozen from BJP in LJP final list of candidates

Sharad Yadav daughter in fray

Subhashini Rao, daughter of Loktantrik Janata Dal chief Sharad Yadav, joins Congress in New Delhi, Wednesday, Oct. 14, 2020.

Subhashini Rao, daughter of Loktantrik Janata Dal chief Sharad Yadav, joins Congress in New Delhi, Wednesday, Oct. 14, 2020.   | Photo Credit: PTI

 

In Madhepura itself, in the Bihariganj Assembly constituency, Subhashini Raj Rao, daughter or former Union Minister Sharad Yadav, is also preparing to make her poll debut on a Congress ticket. Mr. Yadav came into prominence during the JP Movement against Emergency, and has been one of the most important leaders of the social justice stream of Indian politics. Honed in anti-Congressism, his politics is now pivoting on the question of secularism. Ms. Rao is reflecting that pivot.

“Sharadji has been part of the ‘mahagathbandhan’ and they had launched a platform on communal amity called ‘saanjhi virasat’ under his leadership. He wants to take the fight against communalism further. Therefore, despite the fact that much of his career was against the Congress, I joined the party,” she says.

Also read: Also read: Bihar assembly elections | A dozen from BJP in LJP final list of candidates

Ms. Rao terms the 2017 break of the ‘mahagathbandhan’, with the JD(U) reverting to the NDA and dumping the RJD as a betrayal of the mandate of 2015. “It is among the people and in public service that we can take forward these ideas,” she notes, explaining her decision to fight the polls.

The two dynasts have made particular political choices, reflecting specific political realities, through a Nitish Kumar who holds on to the social justice plank via his Mahadalit outreach, another through the Congress the old bugbear now considered an ally in secular politics en route reflecting the journey of 30 years of Mandal and mandir politics.

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Printable version | Nov 25, 2020 11:34:24 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/elections/bihar-assembly/bihar-assembly-polls-2-different-dynasts-in-bihar-poll-fray/article32899706.ece

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