Election in Bihar
The third phase of voting in the Bihar, the thirteenth largest state in India and a part of the Hindi heartland, is coming to a close. Although, right nowit is known for its intractable corruption and sleaze, even by Indian political standards, it was once the heart of the Indian civilization. Buddha preached here and Patliputra, now Patna, was the seat of the Maurya empire which reached its zenith in Ashoka’s time.
This race hasn’t received much coverage in the major media outlets over here but is being followed with bated breath in India. The incumbent chief minister is Nitish Kumar from Janata Dal, one of the many socialist parties of India. Many see this as a referendum on the Modi government. Last year Narendra Modi ‘s Bharatiya Janata Party won the national elections decisively and was able to form a government without the help of any other parties. This was the first time ever, that a party other than the Congress had been able to do so at the Center*. Another important figure in Bihar politics is Mr. Laloo Prasad Yadav of Rashtriya Janata Dal. Laloo was the chief minister of Bihar in the nineties and more recently India’s railway minister.
After a year the shine has worn off Modi and his government. Despite all the talk of economic development, wherever BJP was elected at the state level they pushed through their hobby horse of banning beef and other such reactionary measures, which most voters could care less about. The polls indicate a tight race. Stay tuned for an update.
Narendra Modi, Nitish Kumar and Laloo Prasad Yadav (from left to right)
* Janata Party defeated the Congress at the hustings in 1977. Technically it was a single party, in reality it was an uneasy coming together of various socialist parties and BJP’s precursor, Jan Sangh. The party broke-up under the weight of its own contradictions before completing an entire term in office.