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Bihar debacle: design of recurrence of marginalized political forces
Bibhuti Pati | 24 Feb 2015

The two back-to back political setbacks first in national capital of Delhi and recently in Bihar seem to have set in motion the beginning of re-emergence of non-BJP secular parties, which were marginalized reeling under Prime Minister Narendra Modi's wave in the country during last year general elections.

First the humiliating defeat at the hand of a rookie Aam Admi Party in Delhi and later in Bihar where BJP made all attempts to rule the state through its proxy Jitin Manjhi are evident of the fact that the much-publicized Modi wave is  on decline.

With their shrewd handling of politics in Delhi and Bihar both Arvind Kejriwal and Nitish Kumar have proved that Modi is not indispensible and could easily be countered if all like-minded political forces having faith in secular polity come together and put up a united fight against right-wing and pro-corporate government led by PM Narendra Modi. The coming together of Nitish and Lalu Yadav in Bihar and Congress and Communists joining hands with them seems a formidable combination in the assembly elections in Bihar slated for October-November this year and would ultimately help check BJP from flexing its muscles in Uttar Pradesh, the two most politically sensitive states in the assembly elections in 1017 hence depriving Modi government from securing majority in the Upper House of the Parliament for whole five year term.

The re-emergence and newly found unity among the secular forces have the potential of putting all big ticket economic reforms unveiled by the Modi-led National Democratic Alliance government as the ruling coalition will not be in a position to pursue its pro-reform agenda for being in minority in Rajya Sabha.

The game BJP played under the much-acclaimed stewardship of Modi's close associate and the current BJP President Amit Shan in Jammu and Kashmir, Delhi and Bihar failed to yield any desired results. In Jammu and Kashmir one Rajya Sabha seat has already bagged by Ghulam Nabi Azad of Congress with the help of its previous ally National Conference and an uncertainty still looms large over the formation of a coalition government consisting of BJP and PDP led by former Union Home Minister Mufti Mohammed Syed as after the stunning results of the assembly elections where all strategies of Shah and might PM Modi put went in vain as a new political entity headed by a former bureaucrat Kejriwal swept the elections reducing the BJP from 32 a year back to three.

 

The results of Delhi assembly and later set back in Bihar appear to have forced Sayeed to rethink on its alliance because if the present Governor rule continues in the Muslim dominated state and elections are held in a year, PDP has all chances to form the government on its own. If Mufti continues with his negotiations with the BJP, he might loose his base in the valley from where his party got the majority of seats.

Similarly, in Bihar political situation has changed after the incumbent chief minister Manjhi tendered his resignation even before floor test took place putting BJP, which a day before the trust vote announced its support to him. BJP's game plan was to garner the support of Mahadalit community to with Manjhi belongs and has a sizeable vote percentage. However, Nitish played his cards well by not only putting Manjhi and his supporter legislators on the margins with his clout in the party and created a Constitutional crisis for Manjhi as all his MLAs including him were sacked from the party by the party President Sharad Yadav leaving no option for Manjhi who was banking upon BJP, to resign before going for a floor test as he was not sure of majority.

 

BJP backed Manjhi to the hilt until the results of Delhi assembly were out and went for a rethinking realizing that any further support to Manjhi could jeopardize party's electoral prospects in the forthcoming assembly elections. Nonetheless, the BJP leadership both at the centre and state wanted Manjhi make an impressive speech on the floor of the House exposing Nitish so that the party could have some face shaving in the assembly elections. Manjhi seems to have realized BJP's game plan very late and decided to follow the footsteps of former Prime Minister Charan Singh who also resigned without making any speech before going for a trust vote. This move on the party of Manjhi on the one hand deprived BJP of having any concrete campaign material against Nitish and provided all ammunitions to Nitish to go all out and expose Manjhi's connivance with the BJP.

 

India's grand old party Congress, which is already decimated to its lowest in electoral history in the last year general elections and assembly elections afterwards has left with no option other then following non-BJP regional and national parties hoping for its revival. The smooth victory of Nitish in Bihar has put him in above all secular leaders as he had proved his potential to take on Modi provided all other like-minded forces rally behind him.

Political analysts have been arguing that a new front comprising of all the secular parties including Congress and Communists could be a befitting reply to Modi if Lalu-Nitish and Mulayam remain united until the next general elections because the elections in two major states of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar is in any case going to be fought on the caste basis as it was proved in the assembly by elections in both the states. If they remain together Muslims in these two states would caste vote for them en masse, thus dismantling the BJP's claim that Modi has broken all case, community and creed barriers during the previous Lok Sabha polls? If it was so why this was not happened in Delhi assembly elections where BJP left no stone unturned to win the polls but received humiliating defeat at the hands of a party, which is just few year old and already demonstrated its strength during the last assembly elections securing 27 out of 70 seats thus forming government with the outside support of Congress which had 8 sets in the state assembly and now failed to win even one.

The assembly elections in Delhi and political developments in Bihar besides government decision to take Ordinance route on the issue confronting farmers and economic reforms are certainly going to have its impact on the forthcoming session of Parliament that begins from February 23 as both social activist Anna Hazare and Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi have already announced that they would sit on dharna at the Jantar Mantar from February 23 and 24 respective demanding withdrawal of amendments to the land acquisitions ordinance, which they are detrimental to the interests of farmers and would in long run destroy the backbone of India hinterland i.e. agriculture. The NDA government will have to face a tough task in getting the proceedings of both the Houses of Parliament transacted smoothly as the lawmakers sitting on opposition benches are all set to take on the government on various issues confronting the common man particularly farmers. The Budget session of Modi government is goining to be very interesting as the government has to get all the ordinances passed in Rajya Sabha where it lacks majority. The President Pranab Mukherjee has already cautioned government against opting for Ordinance or Joint Sitting of Parliament routes saying they are not in the interest of Parliamentary democracy.