The month-long Assembly polls in Bihar have finally reached judgement day, when Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) from the five phase poll shall be opened and the verdict of the people of Bihar, on just who is going to rule them, will be revealed.
As the day progresses the fate of not just the two major coalitions in the fray, the BJP led NDA and the Nitish Kumar-Lalu Prasad-Congress alliance named the Mahagathbandhan , will be revealed but will also to a certain extent decide many things in national politics.
If the NDA wins, Prime Minister Narendra Modi will enter the Winter Session of Parliament on a confident note, having overcome a significant political challenge. This could give a fillip to clearing pending legislation and initiating slightly tough economic reforms that had been stalled because of political obstructionism. Bihar is one of the most politically significant states in India and provides the lead for a lot of political trends in the country.
If the Mahagathbandhan prevails, then the index of opposition unity will increase against the ruling BJP, and the treasury benches in Parliament can expect a tough time on clearing key reform related agenda like the Goods and Services Tax Bill (GST). It will also provide a fulcrum for opposition politics around the personality of Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar, who had been endorsed by both Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee. That may not be very good news for the Congress.
A loss for the NDA in Bihar could also mean the beginning of a rise in murmurs against BJP chief Amit Shah, whose current tenure as president will be at an end in December.
The BJP and the RSS are yet to take a call on whether or not Mr Shah is to continue as party chief after December.
A senior party spokesperson of the BJP made light of the tightrope walk that has been the keenly contested poll for the 243 member Bihar Assembly. “Whatever happens on November 8, Mr Narendra Modi will still be Prime Minister of the country,” he said.
A pithy comment, that cannot diminish the fact that a victory in Bihar is considered the jewel in that crown.