Why Lalu and co. lost the plot
Ajay Singh | November 24, 2010
For the past four decades, Barauni assembly constituency of Begusarai district in Bihar was held as an impregnable communist bastion. Not so any more. The CPI’s citadel fell this morning in face of a saffron surge. The BJP won this seat by a huge margin.
The fall of Barauni assembly signifies many things. The assembly segment known as industrialised segment of Bihar was the cradle of the communist movement. Though the per capita income in this seat is double than the average in Bihar, people here tended to identify with the communists because of a powerful trade union movement. But the traditional political loyalties fell by the wayside as Nitish Kumar began writing a new political syntax.
And communists failed to respond to the changing grammar. Barauni is just an example as to how several powerful satraps and citadels fell in a pro-Nitish tornadao that swept across Bihar. It demolished many political myths. One such myth was about the support of the Muslim-Yadav combine to Lalu Prasad.
In reality, MY combine was nothing but a cleverly-coined word by Lalu Prasad Yadav to demonstrate his social base. His claim that he would get the support of muslims and yadavs irrespective of the situation was untenable right from the beginning. This election demolished the myth about the support base that Lalu had taken for granted. Even yadavs did not vote for him in large number. Even muslims voted for the BJP in the belief that it would help Nitish Kumar to form the government.
Similarly, this election also conveyed unambiguously that the Lalu brand of politics was unacceptable to the people of Bihar. The fact that Rabri Devi lost from both the seats she contested only proves that Lalu has totally lost his bearing in state politics. Therefore, it would certainly not be premature to write the political obituary of Lalu Prasad who is all set to be remembered as a leader who and whose wife ruled Bihar for 15 years once upon a time.
Fire on the Ganges: Life among the Dead in Banaras By Radhika Iyengar 4th Estate / HarperCollins, 348 pages, 599
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