Once again Bihar on a cusp, for worse

By Arvind Das

 

Aug 28, 2020

Patna: With the Covid crisis taking its toll on the economy and everything in a state of inertia, the coming Bihar elections are likely to be a reflection of things happening.

Nitish Kumar is in third term of power and much talked about Lalu’s so-called jungle raj days is on the backseat. The Congress is in complete disarray and there is no opposition whatsoever visible in Bihar. Barring occassional outpourings of Lalu’s younger son Tejaswi Yaday, hardly seem to be anything happening in Bihar. For the past six months or so, the traditional Left CPI (M) and CPI and relatively newcomer CPI-ML have not had much presence felt in the state.

Although things definitely look better than the heydays of Lalu, Nitish has not done anything substantial which needs mention.
The RJD had a chance if Lalu Prasad was out of jail and active but his incarceration has come at a very odd time for his party with nobody to take control. Senior RJD leader, Raghuvansh Prasad Singh, who has a clean image has also left the party and his sons have turned out to be completely hopeless in this crisis times.

After Nitish came to power, Bihar was desperately in need of some kind of balm with economy, agriculture, tourism and law and order hitting the rock bottom. In fact many countries had asked their citizens not to keep Bihar in their itineray. Kidnapping had emrged as sole industry. Malpractices in all walks of life had become a grim reality. Nepotism and bribery were rife in all appointments.

Nitish came with the support of BJP and things looked better with law and order showing some kind of semblance of normalcy. Agriculture production also increased and there were signs of industrialists starting to think again of revisiting Bihar. The most imortant thing was lumpens roaming on the streets went missing. Immediately after taking over as chief minister, Niitish had a meeting with top police officials of the state and told them point blank that he wanted law and order to prevail. And the top cops went into action and things started getting better.
But in the second and third term, realpoilitiking started to show and some dons started flexing muscles again and kidnappping again became a norm of the day. But the biggest failure of Nitish was on two fronts ie health and education.

Corona crisis totally exposed health system of Bihar and inaction on the part of Nitish only accentuated the crisis. Shifting of the health secretary thrice in the mid of the crisis was also seen as an ill thought step.

First Corona testing was inadequately done and facilities were not up to scratch and people had to run around to get admitted to hospitals. The death of a bureaucrat in Patna because of Corona was also not taken lightly. The officer concerned approached the powers that be and ran helter skelter but he lost his battle.

And the worst part of the crisis was that Nitish was hardly scene for more than 84 days. Even his statements were missing. When media was full of statements by other leaders, Nitish drew a blank.This was something very unusual of a chief minister in the midst of the crisis.

On the education front, Bihar started slipping in late 80s and touched its nadir in late 90s with mass copying and delay in results, non payment of teachers salaries, shortage of staff plaguing the state. In fact outside universaties even started questioning degrees awarded by Bihar universities.
In Patna university itself, there were too many posts vacant. Guset teachers were appointed to manage things. In 15 years, Nitish appointed teachers only once. As a result best brains went outside the state and opted for other professions . And what we got was the left overs. This led to total stagnation of education in Bihar.

This deeply impacted the education in the state. School teachers were involved in all other things but for education: Be it census, midday meal scheme, elections. Education took a body blow. Lakhs and lakhs of teachers were appointed wirthout any test or interview. This also added to the abysmal state of education in Bihar.

All this preesents a bleak scenarion for Nitish in coming Bihar elections. If one goes only by performance, Nitish will have to show some magic wand in elections to continue in power.

But there are politicians with proverbial luck. Nitish is one of them. Like Lalu Prasad, who was nowhere in the reckoning, became chief minister for the first time with the backing of Chandra Shekhar. To Nitish’s goodluck right now there is no opposition left in Bihar.

The RJD camp, with Lalu in jail, has nobody to garner votes with his two sons proving to be totally imcompetent. The Congress is in complete disarray with nobody aware of the possible leader.

During the Corona crisis, the Left presence was hardly seen. Even the statements by its leaders were missing, The CPI, which has a bigger base in the state, was not at all seen during the ongoing crisis and its leaders were also conspicuous by their absence. The CPI-ML did do some small protests here and there with hardly any visible impact.

The BJP is already with Nitish and two seem to have an easy go in the coming polls as of now.
Yadavs and Muslims have been traditional supporters of the RJD but of late many Yadavs have been seen changing sides and Muslims are also not so enthusiastic to vote en bloc for Lalu and his party.

Although Bihar election process is yet to start formally, the overall mood appears to be glum with no clear cut programmes by any party to attract voters.

And finally it is Nitish who will have the last laugh unless something drastic magical happen which seems improbable.

The Election Commission also seems to be favouring Nitish as it is bent upon holding elections on time. The elections would be postponed due to the alarming rise in Corona crisis and floods afflicting the people of Bihar.

—-India News Stream