Battle of Bihar : Caste vs Development (Bihar Assembly Election 2020)

BIHAR- The Land of Lord Buddha

The Politics of Bihar, a state in eastern India, was characterised, in the early 2000s, by weak governance and corrupt politicians. Currently, there are four main political parties: Rashtriya Janata Dal, Janata Dal, Bharatiya Janata Party and Indian National Congress.

Now, The present scenario of Bihar politics

As India reels under the COVID-19 crisis and the ensuing lockdown, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has another reason to worry. Assembly elections are set to be held in the state in the latter half of 2020. Under normal circumstances, by this time, all political leaders in the state would have begun drawing up poll strategies, campaigning and working against the clock to fulfil all promises made to the people.

Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar, had made 7 promises to the people of his state when he was elected to power in 2015.

The deadline to fulfil these promises was June 2020, but with the lockdown extended to 3rd May, meeting this deadline could be tough. (as per the statement)

Battle of Bihar : Caste vs Development (Bihar Assembly Election 2020)

 

NITISH KUMAR’S KEY PROMISES

  • Tap water connection to every household.
  • Electricity to every home.
  • Concrete roads and drains.
  • Accessibility to toilets.
  • Renovation of lakes and ponds.
  • Student credit card: access to loans worth more than Rs 4 lakhs.
  • Free Wi-Fi in schools and colleges.

Nitish Kumar is not in favour of extending lockdown, the CM was worried that he wouldn’t be able to fulfil all his promises if lockdown extended.

CM held a video conferencing meeting with senior state government officials.

In the second phase of lockdown, the Bihar government has begun with new plans for different sectors. They decided to implement these plans in rural areas while following social distancing and its norms guidelines too.

RALLIES AND YATRA’S

Rallies and ‘Yatras’ Come to a Screeching Halt.

The Nitish Kumar government’s term in Bihar ends on 29 November 2020. This is barely 6 months away. In the present situation, all political parties have been forced to cease all election-related work and political leaders have remained confined to their homes.

Campaigns to reach out to voters and strengthen political presence in multiple constituencies have been put on hold across all parties.

Former Bihar deputy CM and leader of Opposition in the Bihar Assembly, Tejashwi Yadav, could also be forced to stop his ‘Berozgari Hatao Yatra’. Tejashwi Yadav has been holding rallies across the state to corner CM Nitish on the condition of unemployment in Bihar. However, he has had to pull the brakes on such rallies due to the COVID-19 scare.

Crucial BJP Meets Cancelled

BJP is also missing out on the opportunity to expand the party’s reach in the state. March, April and May were crucial to the BJP as the party had planned multiple programmes and events in these three months. However, due to the lockdown, these events could now stand cancelled.

The conference that was to be held between the JD(U) and BJP had to be abruptly cancelled due to the COVID-19 scare. As of now, the biggest fear that all these parties are faced with is that of losing their vote bank right before the elections.

The upcoming elections in Bihar may go online through various modes of digital communications because of the situation created by the continued spreading of the outbreak of COVID-19.

Admitting it with this newspaper, deputy chief minister and senior BJP leader Sushil Kumar Modi said that nobody can deny the involvement of digital campaigning during the upcoming Bihar elections in accordance with the social distancing.

Upcoming Bihar Legislative Assembly elections

Bihar Legislative Assembly elections will be held in Bihar in October 2020 but this year whether pandemic ends or not. “It is now a foregone conclusion that conducting electioneering or campaigning during the Bihar elections wouldn’t possible to be done through traditional or conventional ways for next more than a year due to a pandemic is driven social distancing.” Thus, holding polls online and conducting campaigning through various digital modes of communication would be unavoidable in Bihar.

Bihar Legislative Assembly elections will be held in Bihar in October 2020 to elect 243 members of the Bihar Legislative Assembly. The term of the current assembly elected in 2015 will expire on 29 November 2020. This will be a fight between JDU led NDA and RJD led UPA.

Final voters list for Bihar Legislative Assembly election 2015
S.No Group of voters Voters population
1 Male 3,56,46,870
2 Female 3,11,77,619
3 third gender 2169
Total voters

6,68,26,658

Comparison between parties in the last elections: –

Rashtriya Janata Dal: –

The RJD was formed in July 1997 in New Delhi by Lalu Prasad Yadav, who had broken away from the Janata Dal (People’s Party). Raghuvansh Prasad Singh and Kanti Singh were the other principal founding members of the party, joined by an additional 17 members of the Lok Sabha (lower chamber of the Indian parliament) and 8 members of the Rajya Sabha (upper chamber of the parliament). The RJD’s stated objective was to “carve out a society based on the premises of social justice and secularism.” To that end, the party espoused the socialist beliefs of Jaya Prakash Narayan—who championed the causes of the disadvantaged in Indian society—but it did not advocate communism. The RJD’s influence was largely in Bihar state politics, although it also had a presence at the national level as well as in the states of Jharkhand (which was calved off from Bihar in 2000) and Uttar Pradesh.

The RJD inherited its success and popularity as a party from that of Lalu Yadav, the party’s leader since its founding and Bihar’s chief minister (head of government) in 1990–97. The party’s political prospects were negatively affected, however, by Yadav’s alleged involvement in corruption scandals, the first of which (an alleged scam involving the misappropriation of government funds supposedly destined for animal feed) led to his resignation from the chief minister’s position in 1997 (the post was taken over by Rabri Devi, his wife). Thus, the party’s fortunes have risen and fallen dramatically at both the state and national levels.

Milestones Achieved: –

The RJD fared better in the 2000 Bihar assembly elections, winning 103 of 243 seats and forming a coalition government with the Indian National Congress (Congress Party). Rabri Devi was again named chief minister. The RJD’s good electoral performance continued in the 2004 Lok Sabha polls when it garnered 21 seats in alliance with the Congress Party. Yadav served as the minister of railways in the cabinet of the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance government (2004–09), generally to good reviews for his success in transforming the national railway system from losing money to turning a profit.

Years of RJD misrule: –

Years of RJD misrule in Bihar and allegations of corruption by Yadav, however, had weakened the party’s hold on its traditional support base, which included lower-caste Hindus and the minority Muslim population.

The Fodder Scam was a corruption scandal that involved the embezzlement of about ₹9.4 billion (equivalent to ₹39 billion or US$540 million in 2019) from the government treasury of the eastern Indian state of Bihar. Among those implicated in the theft and arrested were then Chief Minister of Bihar, Lalu Prasad Yadav, as well as former Chief Minister, Jagannath Mishra. The scandal led to the end of Lalu’s reign as Chief Minister. Dr Dineshwar Prasad Sharma is also alleged to have received ₹300.60 crores from S. N. Sinha. On 23 December 2017, Lalu Prasad Yadav was convicted by a special CBI court while Jagannath Mishra was acquitted.

The theft spanned for many years, and allegedly involved numerous Bihar state’s administrative and elected officials across multiple administrations of the Indian National Congress and the Janata Dal parties. The corruption scheme involved the fabrication of “vast herds of fictitious livestock” for which fodder, medicines and animal husbandry equipment was supposedly procured. Although the scandal broke in 1996, the theft had been in progress, and increased in size, for over two decades. Besides the magnitude and duration of the theft, the scam was and continues to be covered in Indian media due to the extensive nexus between tenured bureaucrats, elected politicians, and businesspeople that is revealed, and as an example of the Mafia Raj that has penetrated several state-run economic sectors in the country.

Janta Dal(United): –

The party’s origin can be traced to the founding of the Janata (People’s) Party in 1977, a coalition of several smaller parties that combined forces to oppose the Indian National Congress (Congress Party) and its leader, Indira Gandhi, then prime minister of India. In 1988 V.P. Singh was a principal founder of the Janata Dal (JD) through the merger of the Janata Party and two smaller parties as part of the United Front (UF), a renewed opposition to the Congress Party.

In 1999 the JD decided to support the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) coalition government in New Delhi. The faction led by Deve Gowda, however, opposed associating with the NDA and established a rival party that took the name Janata Dal (Secular), or JD(S). What remained of the JD was designated Janata Dal (United) and, headed by Sharad Yadav, joined the NDA government. Four years later, in October 2003, the JD(U) merged with the Samata and other smaller parties as a reconstituted JD(U). Fernandes became the first president of the new party, and Yadav headed up its parliamentary board.

Milestones Achieved: –

The 2003 re-formation of the JD(U) was largely a move to counter the RJD’s several years of dominance in Bihar. While espousing the ideology of socialism, secularism, and democracy, the JD(U) succeeded in its broad objective of winning over lower-caste Hindus and the minority Muslim population, who had been strong supporters of the RJD. Being a part of the BJP-led NDA government at that time, the JD(U) opposed the policies of both the Congress Party and a so-called “Third Front,” consisting of leftist and other regional parties.

It had established an alliance with the BJP for both contests in 2005, and the two parties formed a coalition government in the state, with Kumar as the chief minister (head of government). The Kumar government quickly put in place policies aimed at turning around the economically underdeveloped state.

The administration’s strong and largely corruption-free performance in its first term was among the reasons why the JD(U) had an even better showing in the 2010 assembly elections, in which it won 115 seats.

Misrule: –

This is not the first time an unexplained fever and administrative apathy has killed children in Bihar. This has been happening consistently year after year for the past 25 years – since 1995. Every year annual occurrence of deaths has worsened with health system either not responding or responding too late to control the damage.

“More than 400 children died in 2001 due to suspected AES, around 375 died in 2014 and this year around 150 have died so far. If we know that this tsunami is going to hit us year after year, I fail to understand why are we never prepared,” said Dr. Arun Shah, a pediatrician, who practices at a private hospital in Muzaffarpur, Bihar.

After the recent visits of Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar and Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan to SKMCH, the health department called upon PHCs and CHCs to lead the charge. “All PHCs and CHCs should have devoted AES wards, each with at least two beds. These wards with oxygen cylinders and glucometer, have to be air-conditioned. They have been told that they must treat AES patients, not just refer them to bigger hospitals,” Dr Harsh Vardhan had said in a press conference.

Despite this mandate, PHCs and CHCs, often short of both medical and non-medical staff, find themselves with their backs to the wall.

All of them accepted that healthcare facilities in Bihar are in pathetic condition. “There are no facilities at most of the hospitals. Doctors don’t arrive on time and even basic medicines like paracetamols are not available. On top of that health workers behave very rudely with people,” said Somu Anand another volunteer.

A number of votes and seats in last legislative assembly elections in Bihar: –

This election saw highest voter turnout in Bihar assembly polls since 2000, with a 56.8% voter turnout in this election The RJD emerged as a single largest party with 81 seats, followed by JDU with 70 seats and BJP with 53 seats. In terms of vote share, BJP came first with 24.4%, followed by RJD with 18.4% and JDU with 16.8% and Congress got 6.7%.

All 243 seats in the Bihar Legislative Assembly122 seats needed for a majority the Bihar Legislative Assembly was reduced from 324 to 243 members. The current NDA government formed on 27 July 2017 consists of 73 JDU, 53, BJP, 2 LJP and 4 Independent MLA’.

Last assembly elections were held in October–November 2015. In July 2017, ex. Deputy Chief Minister Tejashwi Yadav of the RJD was charged by the CBI in a corruption case. After prolonged, but ultimately futile deliberations between the members of the Grand Alliance over Yadav resigning, Nitish Kumar resigned as Chief Minister on 26 July 2017. Hours after Nitish Kumar’s resignation, the JD(U) joined hands with the BJP, allowing Nitish Kumar to take oath as the Chief Minister of Bihar.

Then the Governor of Bihar, Keshari Nath, administered Nitish Kumar the oath of office and secrecy in the Bihar Rajya Bhavan on 27 July 2017, 1000 hrs IST, making Nitish Kumar the Chief Minister of Bihar for the sixth time. He gained the vote of confidence in the house with a total of 131 votes through Lobby Division voting on 28 July 2017. The Speaker JDU and 1 member of BJP did not cast their vote. Eleven NRI voters registered in the electoral rolls for the first time in Bihar electoral history.

They were contacted by election officials through their family members. It was the first time that NRIs cast their votes semi-electronically from foreign the ECI published the final voters’ list for the election, which has an overall population of 10,38,04,637, in accordance with the 2011 Census of India.

The no of voter voted in the Way they are categorized on the basis of gender the election commission of India released the chart of voter voted in the election. In July 2015, BJP-led NDA won 13 seats out of 24 seats of BIHAR LEGISLATIVE COUNCIL elections. JDU and RJD combine won 10 seats only, while 1 seat was won by an independent candidate.

The result of the Legislative assembly(Bihar): –

Results showed that, of the 53 seats won by BJP, 27 were urban areas, which signified that BJP had dramatically shrunk back to its traditional urban support base in Bihar. BJP failed to make a big impact in the rural areas of Bihar, which has one of the lowest urbanisation rates. Only 11.3% of the population of Bihar lives in urban areas, which is lowest in India after Himachal Pradesh.

According to one analysis, RJD was the biggest beneficiary of this election. RJD increased its seat tally by 59 compared with the previous election. RJD had the best strike rate by winning 81 of the 101 seats contested. RJD became the single largest party in Bihar Assembly. RJD defeated BJP in 36 seats BJP had won in the last election, similarly, it took 25 seats JDU had won in the last election.

HOW LEADTECH CAN HELP IN WINNING BIHAR ELECTIONS: –

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