Rajesh Ramachandran

The surprising takeaway from the Bihar election is that the distress of thousands and thousands of migrant staff who had been force-marched again dwelling empty-handed from cities throughout the nation lastly mattered little. The financial disruption prompted in a single day by the Central Authorities’s resolution to lock down the nation — with no discover or sufficient time to arrange or repatriate staff or to assist them survive wherever they had been caught — was speculated to have develop into an inflection level in electoral politics. The lack of 2.1 crore salaried jobs and extra avenues of informal incomes should have prompted a dramatic, long-lasting turnaround. However all those that fell on their method dwelling or those that walked and pedalled 1000’s of kilometres or those that travelled hiding within the bowels of concrete mixers, spending all their financial savings, appear to have taken the Covid lockdown too of their sore stride as simply one other episode within the basic drama of ache.

For none of this appears to have had an influence on the voters’ perspective in the direction of Prime Minister Narendra Modi or the BJP. The BJP, which swept the Uttar Pradesh Meeting elections in 2017 quickly after the devastating blow of demonetisation, is rising because the second largest celebration within the second largest Hindi heartland state. What has labored in these elections is one thing far faraway from lives and livelihoods — one thing extra primordial than jobs and prosperity.

To grasp these outcomes, one has to look intently on the vote share of the Rashtriya Janata Dal. Within the current previous, even when it fared the worst, the RJD had secured about 18 per cent votes in Bihar. For these dedicated followers, it didn’t make a distinction whether or not Lalu Prasad Yadav was a horrible administrator, lording over a kidnapping trade, or a person battling corruption costs, or selling his spouse and kids as a substitute of making sturdy second-rung management. All that counted was that Lalu was the supreme chief of a caste group, which had aligned with one other group. The Muslim-Yadav electoral alliance was the defining be-all and end-all of Bihar’s politics from 1990 to 2005. In these 15 years, Lalu had cynically put in his spouse Rabri Devi as Chief Minister thrice to rule by proxy when he was arrested for graft.

Lalu’s was termed the politics of social justice, however in actual phrases it was id politics of caste delight and communal energy. The query over ‘vikas versus izzat’ or ‘growth versus delight’ was a no brainer. However what was handed as a pushback towards the previous feudal order or the assertion of the backward caste lots was really the arrival of a brand new dominant caste and a brand new ruling order. Those that had been being killed weren’t simply Ranvir Sena’s upper-caste ganglords, but additionally idealistic Left leaders like Chandrashekhar Prasad of the CPI (ML), twice elected because the JNU College students’ Union president. The prime accused in Prasad’s homicide was Siwan’s uncrowned king Mohammad Shahabuddin, a detailed affiliate of Lalu and a working committee member of the RJD. Pappu Yadav, one other previous RJD strongman, was convicted by a trial court docket for the homicide of CPI(M) MLA Ajit Sarkar in Purnia. Now, within the run-up to the just-concluded Meeting polls, no CPI (ML) chief remembered Prasad, and clearly no CPI(M) campaigner spoke of Ajit Sarkar as a result of the 2 Communist events had been gaining immensely from the RJD’s id politics and its Muslim-Yadav votes.

These elections but once more proved that Lalu’s caste males and their social allies can consolidate into a powerful vote block, carving up 18-23 per cent of the state’s vote share even in his absence. Such a consolidation of caste and non secular forces clearly lures companions. The Congress, CPI(ML), CPI(M) and CPI have all obsequiously lined as much as be led by Tejashwi Yadav, Lalu’s 31-year-old youthful son — clearly not a brand new daybreak of social justice. All of them had their eyes firmly set on the RJD’s vote share that’s transferrable to even minor allies in a given constituency. Such a block of votes and a powerful consolidation of caste and non secular forces should set off in time a counter consolidation, nevertheless feeble and fractured it might be. And that’s the phenomenon that’s getting unleashed in Bihar. The worry of the dominance of the Yadav center caste and peasantry has been prompting the coalescing of the higher castes, non-Yadav OBCs and Mahadalits. It’s merely id politics versus id politics, during which the one largest caste or communal group will get defeated by all the opposite castes and teams coming collectively as one block. The BJP, clearly, has not achieved this defeat of the RJD by itself. With out Nitish Kumar’s management and his JDU’s legitimacy, the non-Yadav OBCs don’t see a lot within the BJP, which is essentially an upper-caste entity in Bihar.

So, sadly, an election during which jobs, migration, flood reduction, Covid, public well being, training and the dignity of labour at dwelling and in host states ought to have been mentioned has obtained diminished to the arithmetic of caste and communities neatly stacked for and towards Prime Minister Modi. Unbeknownst to his detractors, on this course of Modi is gaining a block of voters throughout the nation. When Modi refers back to the ‘Yuvraj of Jungle Raj’, he’s blowing a canine whistle that units off a political course of, and so it’s when he talks of the temple at Ayodhya in the identical breath. And the numbers are steadily accruing for Modi to create a consolidated block of voters who provoke a course of throughout the nation, simply as Lalu, Mulayam Singh Yadav, Mayawati and others had common a vote block utilizing a coalition of communities. After each election, Modi increasingly resembles the previous satraps who sit on a pile of dedicated communal votes, firmly safe in caste or spiritual silos.

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