Bihar Assembly Elections 2015

Bigger role may come Nitish’s way

From the outset, the Bihar Assembly election was more than just a State-level contest.

While the Delhi poll had been the first sign of some sort of Opposition revival, the Bihar mandate may soon show whether the wind had a direction or was just a local phenomenon.

Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar’s emphatic win and his statement thereafter, that “the Bihar mandate gives strength to an alternative alliance at the national level,” more or less signals the direction the oppositional politics is likely to take.

“There is a growing desire in the country for a strong Opposition. It is also the requirement of a functioning democracy,” Mr. Kumar said.

Mr. Kumar may become the pivot for this politics, if one goes by the fact that both Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and his West Bengal counterpart Mamata Banerjee wished him victory before the polling process began, and wishes from many regional satraps such as M. Karunanidhi of the DMK and Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik have been pouring in since.

“If you notice, most of the elections fought in the 18 months that Mr. Narendra Modi has been in power, where the BJP had been taking on the Congress, have been won by the former. Delhi was the first reversal of this trend, and Bihar the next. In both these States, non-Congress Opposition parties have won. The confusion at the top in the Congress and its lack of ideological direction has led to this,” said a source in the Janata Dal (United).

All India Congress Committee (AICC) general secretary Randeep Surjewala, however, denied a diminishing role for the Congress. “The Mahagathbandhan (Grand Alliance) happened because the Congress played a cementing role. (Congress vice-president) Rahul Gandhiji ensured that Nitish Kumarji becomes the face of the alliance and the chief ministerial candidate of the Mahagathbandhan,” he said.

According to him, the strongly held view of Mr. Gandhi that the Congress and the JD(U) stay away from divisive issues prevailed and led to a positive campaign.

Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) chief Lalu Prasad put the import of Sunday’s victory for the Opposition in his own inimitable style.

“The BJP wanted to reach Kolkata, but we have managed to block them in Bihar itself,” he said, after the results came out.

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Printable version | May 7, 2021 1:01:36 PM |

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