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Covid-19 & Migrant Crisis Are Changing The Matrix of Bihar Polls, Nitish And Tejashwi Have to Catch Up

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A file picture of Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar and RJD chief Tejashwi Yadav. (PTI)

Analysts say the pandemic has the potential to shift the electoral agenda in direction of governance points like higher healthcare system, employment, industrialisation, schooling.

  • Information18.com
  • Last Updated: May 18, 2020, 11:08 PM IST

Just a few months later, Bihar will likely be in election mode. Political events within the state will gear up progressively for the important thing ballot battle. The Delhi election verdict this yr, riots that adopted quickly after, the Covid-19 pandemic and the lockdown have made the duty of the political events in Bihar tougher.

Handling of the outbreak and migrant disaster by the Bihar authorities is essential as it may make or mar the political prospects of chief minister Nitish Kumar.

According to Afroz Alam, professor and head of the political science division at Maulana Azad National Urdu University: “Undoubtedly, the state’s response to take care of the Covid-19 pandemic will likely be a major think about deciding the voting behaviour of the folks within the soon-to-be-held elections. Bihar shouldn’t be an exception. A notion has began constructing in Bihar that Nitish Kumar, regardless of having 15 years of chief ministerial expertise and recognized for good governance, has failed to ship what the opposite states have been in a position to obtain.

I’m of the view that the favored approval score of Kumar has gone down among the many 2.5 crore employees/each day wage labourers stranded in different states out of which 2 crore dwell in rural areas. We should additionally keep in mind that 34 per cent folks of Bihar live beneath the poverty line who’re devoid of any assured revenue throughout this era.

In this context, the apathy of the Bihar authorities in addressing the considerations of migrants like arranging transport, fares and meals to return to their houses and guaranteeing minimal social safety could price the federal government closely. The pandemic has the potential to shift the electoral agenda in direction of governance points like higher healthcare system, employment, industrialisation, schooling and so forth. We could witness a domino impact of already rising anger in opposition to the current regime in rural Bihar from the place the employees have been caught in different states through the lockdown.”

Both the key parties, ruling Janata Dal (United) and opposition Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD), will try to put their best foot forward and evolve political strategies keeping in mind the mood of the people after the pandemic and the migrant exodus. The opposition would also try to build a political narrative based on how the situation was handled by Nitish Kumar.

Socially and politically the RJD and the Congress have made the right political pitch by offering to bear the burden of railway fares of the migrants. The move compelled the Nitish to announce that his government will take care of the migrants’ fare. Many political analysts believe that the CM’s dilly-dallying attitude towards the return of students from Kota in Rajasthan and migrants travel by train may have damaged the political gains from the resolutions passed by him against the National Population Register (NPR) and National Register of Citizens (NRC).

The Bihar assembly had declared that there is no need for NRC in the state and NPR would be done as per the 2010 format. Many political analysts believe that by doing so Nitish Kumar had scored political points over the opposition.

On the one hand he tried to pacify the anger and apprehension of the anti-CAA, NRC and NPR protesters, and on the other he smartly seized the opportunity from opposition parties to attack him and reap political mileage out of it. Therefore, to connect with the youth, RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav pitched his election campaign through ‘Berozgari Hatao Yatra’ from Patna. The big question is, can Tejashwi match the political acumen of Nitish Kumar and stitch a formidable alliance against him in the absence of Lalu Prasad Yadav during the campaign trail.

“The impression of the Delhi verdict and the next riots may have a cascading impact on the forthcoming electoral competitors in Bihar other than the Covid-19 pandemic and migrant disaster. The defeat in Jharkhand and Delhi state elections will power the BJP-JD(U)-LJP alliance to renew its political synergy.

On the opposite hand, the dismal efficiency of the Congress within the Delhi elections is worrisome, and it’s the RJD that wants to up the ante to sew a formidable alliance. The election could be a combination of governance evaluation and polarisation of votes on non secular strains,” says Praveen Rai, educational secretary, Centre for the Study of Developing Societies (CSDS).

Initially the opposition was groping in the dead of night to include the political narrative that may assist it entice the lots and galvanise the cadres on the bottom. The migrant disaster and ineffective dealing with by the state equipment appears to have supplied the sort of political narrative the opposition was on the lookout for.

Tejashwi Yadav has made the proper transfer whereas attempting to faucet the anger of the youth of the state and it could be attention-grabbing to see if he can fine-tune rapport with younger folks or outsmart Nitish in social engineering underneath the steering of his father Lalu Prasad. In politics, alternatives carry on rotating from time to time and the occasion that’s sensible sufficient and might alter to the required political aspiration and demand of the folks will certainly have an edge. The altering idiom of politics does ring a bell, which is clear from the Delhi elections.

(The creator is a contract journalist. Views expressed are private.) ​



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