Bihar Lesson

CONTRARY to expectations and the exit polls the BJP put up a winning performance in the Bihar Assembly polls enabling the ruling NDA to obtain majority. The NDA won an absolute majority in the state winning 125 seats, three more than the halfway mark needed for a victory. Earlier exit polls had given a convincing majority to Mahagathbandan comprising Rashtriya Janta Dal, Congress and the Communist party. But they fell short just when they were within the touching distance of the victory, securing 110 seats. The performance of the AIMIM which won five seats surprised everyone. At the same time the AIMIM was blamed for cutting the votes of Mahagathbandan enabling the BJP to nose ahead.

Be that as it may, the NDA is again forming the government the state with Nitish Kumar again its chief minister. This would be his fourth term. The outcome of the Bihar polls will continue to be parsed for days. According to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the secret to winning Bihar polls is ‘sabka saath, sabka vikas’. He rightly pointed out that the BJP didn’t only win Bihar but also in Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, and even in Telangana and Ladakh.

These election results have once again raised serious questions about the ability of Congress to defeat the BJP. In his address to party workers, the PM Modi rubbed this fact in saying over the decades Congress has reduced itself to a family-run party. He called this state of affairs as the true threat to democracy. Dynasty and Democracy, he said, cannot go hand-in-hand.

And Bihar election results have vindicated the PM. Congress is now in dire straits. The party despite its claim to being India’s pre-eminent secular party has never posed an ideological challenge to Modi. Neither in Gujarat where the party has successively failed to arrest Modi’s juggernaut nor in the rest of the country. The BJP has now acquired a true national profile and Congress is shrinking by the day.

So, there is no dislodging the PM Modi yet. That is, if no credible political rival emerges from the shadows in the near future, a prospect which looks bleak.

A win for the Grand Alliance in the recent Bihar elections could have had a profound significance. The victory would have arrested the disarray among the secular forces and given them confidence to stand up to Modi in the upcoming state elections. One such being the election in West Bengal. As Bihar has once again highlighted, only a broad secular front against Modi could confront him with a credible challenge. Nothing short of that can.

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