Poll debacle, slap on BJP's face

Poll debacle, slap on BJP's face

The Grand Alliance of the JD(U), RJD and the Congress has won a famous and most decisive victory over the NDA, led by the BJP, in the Bihar Assembly elections. It is much more decisive and spectacular than what it looks like, because the circumstances of the contest were so heavily loaded against the alliance. It was a fight against a party which had impressively won last year’s parliamentary elections in the state. It was also a fight against a party led by the prime minister and the country’s hugely popular leader, Narendra Modi. The alliance was fighting a well-organised campaign with enormous resources and manpower. It was also considered an alliance of convenience with long time political foes, Nitish Kumar and Lalu Prasad, coming together in a distress situation. But it finally carried the day, living down all contradictions and apprehensions. The people of Bihar, the most backward state in the country, have made an emphatic and positive political statement which will resound beyond its borders.

That is because the elections were not just about the formation of a government for the state but about the future of politics in the country. The vote in Bihar is a rejection of the divisive and polarising politics practised and endorsed by the BJP in the campaign. Its senior most leaders like party president Amit Shah and others, who are conveniently called fringe elements, brought in the most divisive issues like cow slaughter into the campaign, and made the most irresponsible statements which even questioned the patriotism of people supporting the Grand Alliance. The prime minister did not distance himself from them and even seemed to endorse that campaign and its hate themes. He had tried to project development as the theme of the party’s campaign in the beginning, but eventually it fell away like a mask. The BJP’s defeat is a major personal setback for him because he had led the party’s campaign from the front. He has been diminished.

Nitish Kumar is identified with development in Bihar. The people of the state have again accepted him, rejecting another unconvincing and even questionable model of development. In terms of both governance and politics, the Bihar verdict has rejected the arrogant impositions of views, ideas and conduct which do not conform to an inclusive and tolerant idea of India. The defeat is the second most comprehensive defeat for the BJP after the drubbing it got in the Delhi elections. With the diminution of the authority of both the party and the prime minister, the Bihar vote will have a major impact on politics in other states and at the national level in future.
DH Newsletter Privacy Policy Get top news in your inbox daily
GET IT
Comments (+)