Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Who will have the last laugh in Bihar?

There was a time when reference to the phrase ‘an Egyptian election’ meant polls in which results are known before the votes are polled. In circa 2015 things have changed a little. In recent elections this year, the fact that Egyptians seemed not to be voting - but were tweeting in big numbers - was itself mocked with hashtag - Twitter Parliament.

Closer home about Bihar elections, results would be out on November 8, if Facebook, Twitter and media in Delhi and a section of English paper journos and experts in TV studios are to be counted, BJP has already lost the polls. 

The heaviest baggage in this world chiefly for media and intellectuals – in whatever form they are looked upon – is the pre-conceived notion. 

This clouded mindset or ‘notion’ is now the steam pushing Twitter/Facebook wars in Bihar. It’s guiding the basic thinking process in whatever manner people look at the Bihar polls and the possible outcome. The Bihar polls is no longer about governance in Bihar, it’s about stopping a man called Narendra Damodardas Modi or to give him yet another round of booster. For some, everything this man does is sinister. That’s the level of ‘tolerance’!

Hazarding guess on who will have the last laugh in Bihar is futile and hence let me try to examine – what will happen in either of the situations!

Firstly, let’s take up the issue – what will be the implications if BJP/NDA loses and Nitish Kumar retains the ‘brilliantly fought’ battle. Brilliance for Nitish lies in wooing back his old foe Lalu Prasad and ironically for the latter - accused and convicted of infamous fodder scam. Thanks to our national ‘tolerance’ to a sickening legal system – a convicted man in a famous corruption case out on bail is lecturing the country about morality!! And he pretends to be 'rescuer' of Indian pluralism and the people of Bihar.
Blogger in an 'intolerant' snap??
So, coming back to what will happen if Modi loses. A few verdict has already come. One of them is from Nilanjan Mukhopadhyay, a senior journalist and author a book on Modi, who says quite bluntly: “Regardless of the Bihar verdict, the Modi story, as it was anticipated, is facing a danger of nearing its end”.
He feels Modi will either way tilt towards Hindutva core ideology and less towards right economic decisions. 
Secondly, I feel, a Modi loss will create a hyped image of Nitish Kumar-Lalu Prasad duo to anchor anti-BJP forces. So in 2019, who will be opposition candidate for Prime Ministership – Nitish? Lalu Prasad? And then what happens to crown prince Rahul Gandhi, who took to the streets on November 3, along with his mom Sonia and hundreds of ‘yes men and women’? Renuka Chowdhury, a former NTR loyalist, walks away with the talent search prize from the march.

What would happen to ambitions of Mamata Banerjee, who is set to win Bengal yet again? What about Mulayam Singh or Mayawati? 

But it goes without saying, election outcome in Bihar will be critical to certain political developments in the country. 
Bihar election results could be actually a prelude to Uttar Pradesh, a state with nearly population of 200 million, and where elections are due by March 2017.

Bihar also represents a state in transition where young voters may prove pundits wrong and defy caste idioms. Or as I joke with Bihari friends and my brother-in-law -- "will Biharis be Biharis" yet again?

A VHP leader who campaigned aggressively during last one month says Amit Shah’s strategies are well thought of. 
“It tries to penetrate deep into people’s mind which is caught between poverty and often desire for quick wealth, traditional values and modernity, caste idiom and religious polarization and ultimately about people’s agonies, scarcity, issues of governance and aspirations”.
Will he wake up?
Can Shah’s formula work is the question for them?

In case, Modi romps home with 130 seats in NDA’s kitty – what will be the implications?
The worst impact – as a known Modi bhakt in social networking sites – I would presume is that status quo would prevail and Arun Jaitley will continue to be the Finance Minister. My worst fear is not much reform oriented steps and policy decisions will come then!
Modi may also feel that to win election in states like Bihar and Uttar Pradesh, you need the noise over beef and that transcends communal polarization and counters the complex web of caste. So, we may have few more sound bytes from the likes of Sakshi Maharaj and who knows – even Mahesh Sharma (another noise maker over Dadri lynching) could think of seeing himself as the next chief minister of Uttar Pradesh.

In case Modi-Shah duo wins Bihar, there would be another important message that RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat’s quota controversy could not deprive Modi yet another feather in the cap.
Expecting how things can turn upon these fronts, two former BJP presidents Rajnath Singh and M Venkaiah Naidu have already backed the idea of yet another term as party chief for Amit Shah. Is this aimed at preventing Nitin Gadkari, Bhagwat's blue eyed boy, taking over BJP reins yet again?

But amid these latent and open debate whether Mohan Bhagawat did try to harm Narendra Modi vis-à-vis Bihar polls, it is also a pointer that Modi remains indispensable for RSS.

Often they say, Modi’s ‘globalised’ outlook as a friend of Barack (Obama) to Nawaz Sharif (in Ufa) is at direct confrontation with RSS and its chief’s undiluted Hindutva values. But no other leader in BJP other than Modi has the guts and the commitment to RSS ideology. At the end of the day, Mohan Bhagwat and his men know that Modi has never given up Hindutva values and ideologies unlike Atal Behari Vajpayee, who often emulated Jawaharlal Nehru or even L K Advani, who wrote his own political obituary with ‘Jinnah secular’ statement.



  1. Irrespective of the outcome, it's sure BJP has given up on development agenda & is drowning into trivial politics.

  2. So, nobody knows what will be the status on November 8 evening. For me, I wish for a BJP win not because of its hindutva agenda.

    I want it to win for two reasons -- one Bihar badly needs a change.

    At best, Nitish provided "evolutionary development" riding along with the BJP.

    At worst, Nitish did not do what was needed of him in his second term -- to take the semblance of order created in the first innings to the next level of development. Somewhere, he definitely got caught in Prime Ministerial ambitions.

    Coming back of Lalu in a state, which he not only ruined, but also virtually dismantled should be seen as a big heart-break for Bihar. I have always maintained that, in India, and also in democracy, we always choose the lesser evil. For me Lalu (even in his truncated existence) is a bigger evil.

    Two, Modi started out on development agenda.

    It was the opposition and the (primarily English-- or Anglicised) media, which brought Hindutva and "intolerance" at the centre-stage. I seriously want these buggers to be shown their place outright.

    I still feel that the Congress, RJD and JD (U) -- despite Nitish' good-boy image in Bihar -- have only these "aggressive Hindutva" and "intolerance" agendas to survive politically.

    The sooner they are made to realise that the law of diminishing returns applies squarely on these issues too, the better it would be for the country.

    I have no issues with criticism of Modi on issues of governance, economy etc. This is what he promised and he will have to answer on these fronts. For that matter, he has not shown the willingness to flee from a question on these fronts so far.

    But, if BJP were to loose Bihar, they will all begin howling -- like Arvind Kejriwal has already done -- that Modi was all about 'hate politics'.

    I still am sure that Modi got the 2014-Lok Sabha votes only and only on development agenda.

    Modi and RSS do not need to 'practice Hindutva" -- it is their second skin.

    "Secularism" to Congress -- and all other parties that grew out of it or as a reaction to it -- is something they have "consciously practiced" over the years.

    If you ask Modi, he will be proud of hindutva because, for him, it is not a pejorative term.

    To cut a long story short, I want some "real people" to be overseeing development in a state that has always wanted it badly, over several decades -- and not the bunch of jokers, who shed "crocodile tears" at the drop of a hat. And then can be involved in the worst pogroms without an iota of shame.