Voters in Bihar are facing a dilemma. They have been clear in their preference for Nitish Kumar and his JD(U) and most want to avoid Lalu Prasad and his RJD. For over 10 years Bihar has been clear on this, but 2015 is forcing them to choose Lalu’s candidates against those of NDA’s. It’s a Hobson’s choice for them, one that they would prefer not to take but may well end up taking. For on the other side is BJP, a party viewed by many as synonymous with the upper caste and communal forces, it’s a not really a choice.
Travelling through the dusty villages of Bihar, large parts of which have remained unchanged for decades, life is a fight of daily survival, broken only by the cacophony of campaigning when people from ‘outside’ come desperately seeking their votes. The only sliver of hope they have is to vote for someone from their caste and pray that something gets done to improve their lives. And that means their choice has mostly been in favour of JD(U), a confirmation of their preference for Nitish over Lalu.
But this year, JD(U) has vacated 100 constituencies in favour of RJD, and its people in those areas that are faced with this dilemma. For most, Lalu remains an entertainer but in administration they have their faith in Nitish. Yet, they also see the BJP at the centre and know that if they win in the state and if the people vote for RJD, they will once again lose out for another five years waiting for their Godot.
Not much has changed for the man on the street in the last five years, despite a lot of good work done by Nitish Kumar, but now he has to choose between voting for RJD, and by extension JD(U), or take the plunge with the BJP, with all their big promises. It’s not an easy choice but one they have to make, for it’s the only time when their voice will count, after that, it will be silence for another five years. Laluji, where have you placed us?
‘It wasn’t Me’ – Nitish Kumar opens up on Modi
Speaking to a television channel, Nitish Kumar opened up on old controversies between him and Narendra Modi. Recalling the days back in 2010, when the assembly elections were due in Bihar and Narendra Modi was the CM of Gujarat.
Being an alliance partner, Narendra Modi was scheduled to campaign in Bihar in favour of BJP which was in power in Bihar in alliance with JD(U). In June 2010, Nitish Kumar was scheduled to host a dinner party to honour senior BJP leadership that was visiting Bihar and included Narendra Modi. Nitish Kumar who enjoyed considerable support from the Muslim constituency wanted to distance himself from Modi, on account of his alleged controversy as CM during the Godhra riots. The story goes that it was Nitish Kumar who called off that dinner party to voice his disapproval of Narendra Modi. And it stuck as the root cause of differences between the two.
Opening up on the controversy, Nitish Kumar clarified that it wasn’t him who cancelled the dinner that evening but laid the blame on his then deputy, Sushil Kumar Modi of BJP, for cancelling the dinner, saying it was a BJP decision and not his. He claimed he was informed about the dinner cancellation and had no hand in it. He went on to clarify that he had nothing personal against Modi and his stand has been one on principles, which he maintains till today.
On Dussehra, Lalu sees a ‘Political Ravana’ in BJP
There goes Lalu again. EC or no EC, there is no stopping Lalu from staying in the news. Durga Puja is here and Ma Durga is all set to slay Mahisasura, the multi-faceted demon, on Dussehra. But for Lalu, it’s an occasion to see Ma Durga vanquish the ‘political Ravana’ in BJP.
Lalu Prasad remains totally oblivious to the fact that he has been convicted in the fodder scam and has spent a significant time in jail besides being barred from standing for elections. But that is hardly a matter of concern and Lalu remains perfectly nonchalant about it and goes about taking potshots at Narendra Modi and his party. He already has an FIR against him filed last month and has an EC reprimand to keep himself in check during campaigning, but Lalu is Lalu, and he carries on as though it’s business as usual, with a single point agenda of ensuring his two son’s victory. After all, it’s his only hope for remaining relevant.
Mulayam Singh’s shadow on Buxar in the 3rd phase of polls
Buxar district on the western fringe of Bihar goes to polls on 28 October. Being a border district with eastern U.P. there is a lot of cross-border influence for both Bihar and U.P and Mulayam Singh will be watching the results very closely.
He has a lot at stake as he walked out of the Mahagathbandhan and is looking to get closer to BJP without compromising his Muslim vote bank. Mulayam Singh and his Third Front are fighting in all seats but Buxar is crucial for SP because a win or defeat here will have a cross border impact on his constituency in eastern U.P.
Buxar is a district that lies in between the Ganga to the north and Bhabhua and Rohtas districts of Bihar to the south. But more importantly, borders Ghazipur and Balia districts of eastern U.P. Balia district has Bharat Singh as the BJP MP, while Manoj Kumar Sinha is the sitting BJP MP from Ghazipur. Both have considerable influence in the district, but the Vidhan Sabha seats are both with SP and they can wield influence on voters across the border in Bihar.
Buxar has four assembly seats and Mahagathbandhan break-up is JD(U) – 2, RJD -1 and Congress-1. So the Mulayam factor will play a part here more than in other districts.