Wednesday, 23 September 2015

Bihar Legislative Assembly Elections 2015

The legislative assembly of Bihar is scheduled to expire in November 2015. The state witnessed a big political crisis right since the start of the year as the former chief minister Nitish Kumar asked the ruling CM Jitan Ram Manjhi to step down but the latter refused and was subsequently expelled from the primary membership of JD-U. Though, Manjhi quit days later, hours before he was to go through a confidence motion in the assembly.

The elections to the legislative assembly will be held in the 243 assembly constituencies of Bihar before 29 November 2015. In the previous elections held in 2010, the JD-U won 115 seats out of 147 seats it had contested. The BJP bagged 91 seats out of 102 contested. If the results of 2014 General Elections in Bihar are an indication to follow, then the BJP can be termed as the favourite to win. In the general elections, BJP won in 22 of the 40 parliamentary constituencies, while the LJP and RJD settled for 6 and 4 seats respectively.

In 2015 the BJP’s Bihar unit has to not just expose the nefarious designs of both the JDU and RJD but also demonstrate that it can win the confidence of all sections of Bihar. Delhi poll results also got a great impact on the 2015 Bihar assembly election results and by congratulating Aam Admi Party chief Arvind Kejriwal for the staggering victory, JD(U) said the people of Delhi “have rejected Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP” and the results will have “far reaching effect” on the entire country, including Bihar. However, the recent State Legislative council election results in Bihar (touted by many as semi final) has upset the Nitish-Lalu-Congress agenda. In fact the BJP lead team could manage to win 14 out of 24 seats and thus gave a big blow to ‘Janta Parivar’. In fact a detailed study of the legislative council results reveal that Lalu yadav lead RJD is in upsurge and the biggest looser is Nitish Kumar.

BJP leaders are trying to take advantage of the infighting within the ruling JDU. BJP leaders feel that if CM Nitish Kumar maintains his autocratic approach, then the merger of RJD and JDU will be deferred. A senior leader feels that there is a positive effect of Jharkhand elections on Bihar. In Jharkhand, a non-tribal CM has taken command and it has been received positively in Bihar. Apart from this, they feel that the Narendra Modi wave still persists and hence this is the ideal time for elections.

Many leaders have the feeling that the elections will be fought on caste-based equations. The BJP is also trying to set its equation right. Equation of OBC-Muslims and Mahadalits will be the main strength of JDU-RJD. That is the reason why BJP leaders want to stop the merger of JDU and RJD, and an early election. So, the BJP is supporting Manjhi, and Sushil Modi has said that the party is ready to back him completely. There is likelihood of BJP + Manjhi + LJP + Kushwaha. In addition the BJP has created a big hole in the Yadav bastion of Lalu Yadav by siding with Pappu Yadav and the entire Kosi belt will have an impact positively in favour of BJP at the cost of Nitish-Lalu combine.

For the last few months, leaders of BJP have been setting various targets. In the Lok Sabha Elections, Modi had fixed a target of 272+ and achieved it. After that, the party started setting targets for every State. For Bihar, the mission is 185+ seats. Though the BJP could not achieve its target in Jharkhand, Maharashtra and Jammu and Kashmir, the enthusiasm of party workers and leaders has not gone down.

Now, one of the bigwigs of the party has set a target for 2019. Forest and Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar says by 2019, 19 States will have BJP CMs. This is a point to worry for the Congress and other regional parties. In 1997-98, the Congress was in power in very few States. The party was ruling in only two big States, Madhya Pradesh and Kerala. But then big States like Bihar, West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, and Andhra Pradesh were being ruled by regional parties. At present, there are seven CMs of the BJP, and in two States, CMs are from its alliance partners. However, some of the leaders think 19 BJP CMs is a tall order.

Established Political Parties will have to spend extra time dealing with sabotage and infighting. Infighting is at its peak in all the political parties be it Congress, BJP, RJD, JDU or AAP.

After the results of Lok Sabha and Assembly Elections in four States, Rahul Gandhi has kept his experiments aside. That is why in Delhi there was no primary for ticket distribution. But it is being speculated that Rahul is back on that track and wants his formulae to be implemented to strengthen the organisation. Sources say he might hold elections for some posts of the organisation. Rahul might also hold elections to fill 12 posts of CWC, the apex policy-making body of the Congress.

According to the party Constitution, elections must be held to choose 12 members of CWC, and almost the same number of members should be nominated. But no such elections have been held during Sonia Gandhi’s regime, and all members have been nominated. During Sonia’s regime, even the number of special invited and permanent invited members increased. However, Rahul wants CWC members to be elected. Though some leaders say this can be challenging for his leadership, sources are of the view that there will always be apprehensions about Rahul’s leadership, and the elected leaders can also pose challenges for him.

With elections just a few months away, the political scenario appears to be in a fluid state. Perhaps this election may be fought purely on the alignment of political forces as none of the political icons is in a position to create a fresh wave in his favour; rather, some of them may be fighting for their political survival. What is certain is that it will be the voters who will have a tough time choosing their candidate and party.

This above was written many months back.

With Election round the corner and with 3rd Front and Owaisi in the field the things may get little difficult for Grand Alliance of Nitish-Lalu-Sonia. The Third front of Pappu Yadav-Mulayam Singh Yadav-Sharad Pawar (Tariq Anwar) etc has potential to damage Nitish Kumar lead alliance in Kosi belt and on the other hand Owaisi will effect the grand alliance in Border areas or what is called Simanchal. However, it is not going to be easy for NDA, though they have an edge over Grad Alliance of Nitish as on date. However, with Lalu yadav raking his pet subject of Caste based Reservation, the things may turn overnight.    

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