Beef Row Spices up Bihar Poll Pot, BJP Takes on Lalu Prasad

The very unfortunate killing of a Muslim man in Dadri-UP, merely on the suspicion of eating beef, is fast turning into an ugly game of politics where all parties have jumped in to capitalise on the incident for political benefit.

What happened in U.P is now beginning to show its impact on Bihar, making several analysts wonder whether the incident was meant to trigger a polarisation before the Bihar polls.

Polarisation is certainly happening, going by various statements of the political parties in UP and Bihar. Lalu Prasad was the first to speak up against what had happened in Dadri, condemning it in the strongest words and warned of attempts by the BJP and RSS to polarise the voters on the issue. The problem is that he went further and remarked that even Hindus eat beef when they travel overseas. This has now been picked up by the BJP and other right wing groups, who are making ‘cow slaughter’ a poll issue.

Countering Lalu Prasad was Sushil Kumar Modi of the BJP who said that the poll fight will now be between beef eaters and non-beef eaters. Stoking the controversy further, Modi asked whether the Yaduvanshis (members of the Yadav community) were in favour of cow slaughter and challenged the Grand Alliance to ban cow slaughter in Bihar. He further added that if voted to power, the BJP would ban cow slaughter in the state, as it had done in Rajasthan, MP, Chhattisgarh and Gujarat.

In a dangerous turn of events, Azam Khan, the controversial SP leader from UP, held a press conference yesterday in which he threatened to approach the UN against the threat Muslim community was facing from right wing religious groups, including the RSS and the BJP, who were using beef eating as an excuse to create communal tension. He stated that since the centre was unable or unwilling to reign in these hardline elements, he had no other option but to appeal to the UN for help.

This development is certainly an extremely dangerous one and can have serious implications on national security going forward. Without doubt, this will impact the polls in Bihar, as SP is fighting all seats there and has a considerable following from both the Muslim community and the Yadavs, who between them form almost 30% of the population. The BJP is hoping that by polarizing the voters between beef eaters and non-beef eaters, it will try and create a wedge between the Yadav vote bank and bring a part of the Yadav community over to supporting the BJP. This could well become a double-edged sword and therefore, this trend towards polarisation must be discouraged by all.

The SP-led administration in UP has been forced to act and arrest the alleged perpetrators of the crime, but this has further stoked the polarisation process in Dadri, thus creating a volatile communal situation that threatens to spread beyond Dadri.

BJP, being the party in power at the centre, has a responsibility to ensure that communal forces remain in check, but recent developments across states in the last one and half years since BJP came to power, points otherwise. The problem is being further compounded by the extended periods of silence by the Prime Minister on these sensitive issues and his silence is giving further confidence to right wing hardliners to become more vocal.

In the last sixteen months, PM Modi has done a great job in projecting India and its potential to the international community. However, his silence on these sensitive issues can undo all the good work in the eyes of the international community. India is on the cusp of turning into a developed country, but if we don’t get our domestic politics right, we may just squander away the opportunity that comes once in a millennium.

Confusion over Ages of Lalu’s sons

Tej Pratap Yadav is Lalu’s elder son and has filed his nomination from Mahua constituency in Vaishali district, while his younger son Tejashwi Yadav has filed his nomination from Raghopur constituency, in the same district. Now, it turns out that as per nomination papers filed, Tej Pratap, the elder son, has shown his age as 25, while Tejashwi has shown his age as 26 years.

According to family sources, Tejashwi is 26 years of age, while his elder brother is 28 years of age, so how did this confusion happen? Was it a typographical error or was this a deliberate attempt to mislead? The EC office has clarified that the returning officer’s role is to merely accept the nomination paper and affidavit of candidates. The details are scrutinised later and if any information is found incorrect, the nomination can be rejected. However, all candidates have the opportunity to file up to four sets of nomination papers and the last application is taken as the final one. So Lalu’s sons have an opportunity to correct the error and set the record straight.

Politician in focus: Rajesh Ranjan (Pappu Yadav), RJD (Born 24 December 1967)

Rajesh Ranjan or Pappu Yadav as he is commonly known as, is the sitting MP from Madhepura, Bihar in the 16th Lok Sabha. He was born in Purnea, Bihar in the house of Chandra Narayan Prasad Yadav and Shanti Priya.

Pappu Yadav became a Member of the Bihar Legislative Assembly for the first time in 1990. He got elected as the MP to the 10th Lok Sabha in 1991 and has since served five terms, including the current one. He has served as a Member of several Committees and remains active in politics.

Constituency in focus: Sikandra (SC)

Sikandra is an assembly constituency in the Jamui district under the Munger division. Located 23 km west of Jamui, it is also the Block headquarter. Sikandra’s location close to the border area of Lakhisarai and Jamui districts places it in a unique position to be economically connected to both Jamui and Lakhisarai. Other cities in the vicinity are Barahiya and Sheikhpura. The nearest railhead is Jamui railway station.

2010 Assembly Election Results

  • Winner in 2010 Assembly Poll: Rameshwar Paswan, JD(U)
  • Margin of win: 12,361; 11.91% of total valid votes
  • Runner-up: Subhash Chandra Bosh, LJP
  • Male voters: 54,738 ; Female voters: 49,085 ; Total: 103,824
  • Polling %: 45.57
  • Male Candidates who contested: 11; Female Candidates: 1
  • Polling stations: 271

 

Related Information:
Bihar Elections 2015
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List of Chief Ministers (CM) of Bihar
Government and Politics of Bihar
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