Bihar elections is round the corner but BJP is yet to declare their chief ministerial candidate and also with its allies mounting pressure over seat sharing issue. Jitan Ram Manjhi had differences with the BJP over the number of seats offered to him. As the seat-sharing talks continue in the NDA, Manjhi-led Hindustan Awam Morcha (HAM) claimed the party was offered more number of seats than what was on the platter. Intensifying the efforts to placate Manjhi, Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan and Bhupendra Yadav also met Manjhi to bring him on board on the seat-sharing formulae after BJP resolved the issue with two other allies — Ram Vilas Paswan-led Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) and Upendra Kushwaha-led RLSP. With Manjhi sticking to his demand for more seats, finalisation of a seat-sharing arrangement by BJP with its allies for the assembly polls in the state had eluded even after hectic consultations. HAM was offered around 15 seats and the five outgoing MLAs owing allegiance to him have been asked to contest on BJP tickets. While BJP plans to contest on around 160 seats out of a total of 243 seats, RLSP is being offered 25 seats while Ram Vilas Paswan’s Lok Janshakti Party around 40.
While Manjhi is battling to set equation with NDA his son in a major embarrassment was arrested by the police after he was found carrying Rs. 4.65 lakh in cash in a car. During routine checking of vehicles, the police intercepted a car at Gaya-Jehanabad check post near Umta village and seized Rs. 4.65 lakh in cash from Manjhi’s son Praveen Kumar who was on his way to Patna from Gaya.
In the meantime entreating Dalit icons B R Ambedkar and Jagjivan Ram, Rahul Gandhi will kick off his election campaign in Bihar with rally on September 19 where other top leaders of the grand alliance are likely to be present. The party believes with RJD chief Lalu Prasad Yadav and Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar addressing the rally with the theme of “Samanta and Samrasata” (equity and harmony), the anti-BJP alliance will be able to drive home the message of social justice with greater force. Lalu has not been on best of terms with Rahul ever since the Congress vice president vetoed a UPA government’s ordinance to protect convicted lawmakers from disqualification in September 2013 which, according to the Opposition, was brought to help the RJD president, who was convicted in the fodder scam. Sonia Gandhi has already shared the dais with Prasad and Kumar.
The main cut throat competition will be between Janta Parivar (JDU+RJD) and BJP. Other parties will play a spindle in forming alliances. Lalu Yadav proved himself smart and decided to support JDU, knowing that if he goes alone then he will not stand anywhere. The Modi waves are slowing down to a larger extent, and after Delhi elections equations have changed for the party. Nitish had worked for Bihar; it was he who brought safety, strength, status and growth for the state. After Lalu’s era, it was not easy for Nitish Kumar to get Bihar on track. Mr. Kumar has more vote bank and faith of the commoners after Jitan Ram Manjhi’s debacle as CM. As Chief Minister, he gained popularity by initiating a series of developmental and constructive activities including building of long-delayed bridges, re-laying roads that had ceased to exist, appointing over 100,000 school teachers, ensuring that doctors worked in primary health centers, and keeping crime in check. Nitish Kumar belongs to a socialist class of politicians. He learnt the lessons of politics under the tutelage of stalwarts Jayaprakash Narayan, Ram Manohar Lohia, S N Sinha, Karpuri Thakur and V. P. Singh. Nitish Kumar returned to assume office of Chief Minister of Bihar on 22 February 2015. Bihar Legislative Assembly election, 2015 is considered as the toughest election for him. He is campaigning aggressively for Bihar elections after the formation of Janata Parivar.
Nitish has long history of socialist politics. He participated in Jayaprakash Narayan’s movement along with Anand Mohan Singh between 1974 and 1977, and was close to Satyendra Narayan Sinha, a prominent leader of the time. Once up on a time, he was the face of Bihar politics when BJP and JDU were in alliance and he was appreciated by many, although in Lok Sabha elections, JDU was wiped off by BJP so it will be really interesting to see fight between Janata Parivar and BJP.
Caste is everything (amongst the masses). Approximately, 90 per cent of voting is based on Caste matters in Bihar. This time also votes will be split on caste base on large extent. Most of the educated Bihari voters don’t stay in Bihar. They are earning their livelihood somewhere else, and it is highly unlikely that they would vote. In this election, Nitish Kumar is solely dependent on caste card. Without support of RJD his survival in Bihar politics is difficult. BJP is riding on Modi wave in these polls. From 90’s Bihar politics is defined by castes. This time, its personal war between two leaders, one is CM of the state whereas other one is PM of this country. If Nitish wins, it will open gates of corruption for RJD MLAs who are out of office for a decade almost. Moreover, this time RSS is supporting BJP in Bihar and upper caste votes can swing in favour of the latter. In Bihar, cash and liquors continue to work because of poor economic status of the state. Apart from a few urban areas like Patna, people are hardly concerned about anything related to development in the state.