Bihar state elections 2020 are round the corner and unlike other states, elections here aren’t based on a factor or two but on multiple factors with multiple parties involved. Bihar is very sensitive when it comes to politics and have been very vocal in both national as well as state politics.
It is important to understand that RJD, JDU & Congress fought elections together last time and formed government. Lalu Prasad Yadav is the head of RJD & Nitish Kumar is the head of JDU. Both of them started their political career with great freedom fighter Sh Jay Prakash Narayan who is famous for Sampoorn Kranti and dethroning Indira Gandhi by bringing every faction together for a common cause in the name of Janta Party, but later parted ways and formed their own parties. Before 1990, Congress has always been the strongest party in the state and almost always kept the post of Chief Minister with themselves. However, thing’s changed after 1990 when Lalu Prasad Yadav became Chief Minister for the first time and then stayed being the CM till 1997 when he had to quit his CM post due to the allegations related to fooder scam. After a leadership revolt, he parted his ways by forming his own Rashtriya Janta Dal- RJD and made his wife Chief Minister from 1997 to 2005. Lalu Prasad Yadav’s politics is mainly based on his unique M-Y combination which stands for Muslim & Yadav. These 15 years of RJD’s rule in Bihar is said to be the worst for the state and often referred to as Jangal Raj where the state witnessed almost no development, a lot of state sponsored crimes and a big divide in the society on the basis of caste. In 2005, Lalu’s RJD lost power in state and Janta Dal(United) – JDU came in power with help of BJP. Nitish Kumar became the new Chief Minister and took steps to bring back the development in the state while curbing the crime. After Narendra Modi’s rise in BJP as Prime Minister, Nitish Kumar led JDU brokeup with BJP and fought Bihar elections of 2015 against them by forming a prepoll alliance with RJD & Congress. In this election, RJD & JDU fought over 100 seats each while giving remaining 40 seats to Congress.
RJD won the most number of seats however let Nitish Kumar of JDU become Chief Minister since Lalu Prasad Yadav is serving jail term for his involvement in Fooder Scam and he isn’t allowed to contest elections or hold a statutory post. But being the big partner in the collision government, RJD kept all the big ministry for themselves. Also younger son of former Chief Ministers Lalu Prasad Yadav and Rabri Devi was made Deputy Chief Minister. After sometime, JDU quit the government due to its differences with RJD and re-joined NDA alliance where Nitish Kumar remained the Chief Minister.
In this election, various big players/parties contesting including BJP, JDU, RJD, LJP, Congress. BJP & JDU are contesting under a prepoll NDA. Nitish Kumar of JDU is the Chief Minister of the state from 15 years and eyeing the CM post again. The NDA alliance fighting elections on the face of Nitish Kumar where BJP will be contesting 121 seats, while the JD(U) has got 122 seats in the NDA seat-sharing arrangement but is contesting only 115. They seem confident yet have included local parties HUM & VIP in their alliance.
On the other hand, Congress is contesting a total of 70 seats as part of the ‘Mahagathbandhan’ in Bihar, with the RJD leading the coalition under a prepoll alliance with former deputy Chief Minister & son of Lalu Prasad Yadav, Tejasvi Yadav as their Chief Minister candidate. Left Parties are also part of this grand alliance.
Lok Janshakti Party- LJP which is having a strong foothold in Bihar is an NDA partner in central government however is contesting Bihar elections independently. It is contesting against the candidates of JDU and not BJP and are openly supporting BJP’s candidates while being a critical towards Nitish Kumar which shows it’s intent of a postpoll alliance with BJP.
Some other parties having footholds in Bihar and UP have formed an alliance while parties based on Muslim vote bank and other castes are contesting few seats either by forming an alliance or on their own. A new party ‘Plurals’ formed a year back by the daughter of a sitting legislature of JDU is also contesting elections on several seats. However the real fight stays between NDA & Mahagathbandhan.
Jangal Raj went from Bihar after 2005 however real development is still awaited in Bihar. Congress which once was the biggest player is too small to project itself while despite of Left Parties having their organisation in Bihar are unable to convert it into seats forced them to become junior partner of RJD whose head is in jail. Tejasvi Yadav is the head of alliance who have not even completed his primary education and is eyeing to rule a state with one of the lowest literacy rate. NDA on the other hand is facing anti-incumbency due to it being in power for 15 years and doing so less for the state.
There are various issues raised by different political parties in this election as per their convenience including Jobs, Crime, Vikas, Development, Special Status demand of the state, Migrants, Alcohol Ban, Sushant Singh Rajput, Caste, Religion, Pakistan, Kashmir and CAA-NRC. Also this is the biggest election happening during the ongoing Pandemic.
May this election bring new opportunities for Bihar and take it on the way of development.
Author: Adv. Shashank Shekhar Jha
Legal Editor, GoaChronicle.com