GN Bureau | May 16, 2014
Almost a year after Bihar CM Nitish Kumar broke the alliance with BJP in the state, he is facing the soup. On the afternoon of May 16, it’s becoming clear that JD (U) will get anywhere between two to five seats – a hopeless decline from 2009 Lok Sabha elections when the party secured 20 seats (the partner BJP got 12, taking the tally to 32).
So what exactly led to the near-complete rejection of the party that was, among other things, said to have resurrected the state structure in Bihar, and that gave the state its most efficient CM since independence?
The answers are not completely clear.
What is clear is this: the BJP has managed to make inroads into constituencies formerly dominated by lower castes – which traditionally voted for JD (U) and Lalu’s RJD, and, in some cases, Paswan’s LJP. Nitish’s brazen refusal to accept this has cost him dearly.
It also didn’t help that early this year BJP and LJP forged an alliance. LJP, statistically speaking, was an insignificant entity, and had nothing to offer to any coalition other than palaver of secularism. BJP, on the other hand, had numbers and was in the need of greater legitimacy among the lower castes (vaishyas, dalits and several backward castes) and, especially, Muslims. While lower castes seemed to have voted in hordes for the BJP and its allies LJP and RLSP, who are currently leading on 32 seats, the Muslims have gone back to their traditional patron, Lalu.
Which is where RJD comes into picture. Only a few months ago when Lalu was jailed following the verdict on his involvement in the fodder scam, it was said his career had got over. Now thanks to the Nitish-BJP friction and the confusion that followed, Muslims have apparently switched their loyalty in favour of Lalu. That JD (U) has done badly in Muslim-dominated seats like Siwan, Kishanganj, Katihar, Bhagalpur and Araria is a proof of this.
RJD’s alliance with Congress has also ensured that some of the loyal Congress supporters, who, despite everything, continue to support the grand old party, have voted for the RJD.
Where does all of it leave Nitish?
The most popular explanation is that people would vote him in the assembly elections, due later next year: that he deserves the credit for his contribution, but not in the Lok Sabha election.
His detractors, from BJP and LJP, on the other hand, are predicting that the JD (U) government would fall after the declaration of the Lok Sabha results. With 116 MLAs of its own, the JD (U) has the support of four Congress legislators, four Independents and one CPI MLA. This means that Nitish has a strength of 125 legislators in the 243-member House, barely past the halfway mark of 122. BJP would only be too happy to ride on its extraordinary Lok Sabha success and have a mid-term poll.
Whatever the electoral results, it’s difficult, as always in Bihar, to say who is to be blamed for all that is wrong: the principal or the subjects.
Goa Shipyard Ltd (GSL) and MTU, Germany have agreed to cooperate in the local manufacturing of technologically-advanced MTU series 8000 engines in India. Under the agreement, which was signed at India’s leading defence trade show Defexpo-18, the companies will manufacture the 16-
ONGC sportspersons outshone other participants in their respective categories in the recently concluded Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast, Australia. ONGCians bagged 13 medals including 5 Gold, 3 Silver and 5 Bronze, contributing to the 66 medal tally of Team India. ONGCians Ragala Venkat Rah
Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited (BHEL) has bagged an order for the renovation and modernisation (R&M) of electrostatic precipitators (ESP) at Ramagundam super thermal power station. The Rs 137 crore-turnkey-order envisages carrying out R&M of ESPs of three units of 200 MW each at Ra
As the Congress leads a bunch of opposition parties in preparing to move an impeachment motion against the chief justice of India, Dipak Misra, BJP president has said its real agenda is not to save the constitution but to save the “dynasty”. Shah has turned to Facebook, posting a
There are a few fortunate people for whom every day is a World Book Day, but for the rest it comes once in a year. There are all sorts of international days of this and that, but thanks to social media people are acquiring the habit of wishing and celebrating this or that day these days. Those who’d
GAIL (India) Limited has placed pipe laying orders of Rs 780 crore for around 530 km of pipeline connectivity from Bokaro to Angul for Jagdishpur-Haldia & Bokaro-Dhamra Natural Gas Pipeline (JHBDPL) project. With this, major contracts of the project, i.e. pipe supply and laying contract orders for 2200