September 18, 2022

Political Developments in Bihar & Its Significance

Arun Kumar Mishra

BIHAR has put its first step forward by thwarting the oft-repeated calculated game of the BJP to swallow its smaller partners and usurp the power in different opposition-ruled states. Having tasted its own bitter medicine, it has started vomiting choicest abuses against Nitish Kumar, a long-time ally of the NDA whom the BJP was praising sky high as the true inheritor of Lohiaite anti-Congressism. After assuming office of chief minister and being elected as the leader of the Mahagathbandhan legislative group, in his first foray to the national capital, he met all the opposition leaders -- Rahul Gandhi, Congress leader, Sitaram Yechury, CPI(M) general secretary, D Raja, CPI general secretary, Dipankar Bhattacharya, CPI(ML) general secretary, Sharad Pawar, NCP stalwart and Arvind Kejriwal, Delhi chief minister. BJP leaders in Bihar have lost their balance and are behaving like orphaned kids, but nobody is there to wipe their tears. Every move of the opposition that unites the people, makes the BJP apprehensive of losing its power at the centre in the coming 2024 parliamentary election.

Bihar sent 39 out of 40 parliamentary seats in favour of the NDA. After the dramatic turn of events on August 9 for which the ground had been laid during the last assembly election, BJP finds itself thoroughly isolated in Bihar politics. It was the BJP which utilised the LJP led by Chirag Paswan against the JD (U) and got it defeated in several seats relegating it to the third position with only 44 MLAs in the house of 243. The BJP emerged as the biggest party only to be replaced by the RJD when four MLAs of the AIMIM defected to its fold. From the very beginning, BJP started putting pressure by nominating two deputy chief ministers and speaker of the assembly of its choice. BJP let loose its propaganda against the deteriorating law and order situation and directly put the blame on Nitish Kumar for his inability to curb the growing lawlessness. On the other hand, BJP was secretly using R C P Singh, the union minister from JD(U) quota, to lure JD(U) MLAs to its side by adopting all unethical means. It is said that an ever-vigilant Nitish Kumar got the hint and even gathered audio clip evidence and took a decisive step by resigning as the chief minister and joining the Mahagathbandhan.

Since then, he has taken upon the responsibility to unite the entire opposition parties and has embarked on this noble mission, which is the need of the hour. He has repeatedly denied that he has prime ministerial ambition and has shown his inclination to unite the entire opposition parties to take on the BJP in the coming parliamentary election. The Left parties, particularly the CPI(M), have been consistently fighting for the unity of Left, democratic and secular forces to take on the RSS-BJP juggernaut, which is bent on destroying the very foundations of Indian republic and imposing a majoritarian-authoritarian regime.

Bihar is a beacon of light in otherwise gloomy situation and has generated a new hope in the entire country. It was Bihar which led the movement against the Emergency and was on the forefront in the cause of restoration of democracy. BJP has misused various democratic institutions in the last eight years and has destroyed these institutions from within. Nitish Kumar has witnessed the working of BJP from close quarters and has realised the danger it poses for the country. The dramatic political development occurred in the background of growing resentment against the Modi regime due to back-breaking price rise, unemployment and toxic environment generated by everyday hate speeches by RSS-BJP affiliates.

The last assembly election was fought on the issues concerning the common people and the Mahagathbandhan and its Left allies got 115 seats, only seven seats short of majority. The opposition RJD and Left parties fought unitedly inside the assembly and on the streets. The June 5 state-level convention of Mahagathbandhan and Left leaders and cadres addressed by national leaders of constituent parties created the ground for the unity of Left, democratic and secular forces which culminated in a state-wide protest march on August 7 and gave a final blow to the tottering NDA in Bihar.

 The body blow to the BJP and its machinations has exposed the chinks in its armour and its invincibility has been challenged. It is too early to say anything about how the unity of the Left, secular and democratic forces materialises. The process has started which has unnerved the BJP and it will go to any extent to divide the masses on religion, caste and regional basis. Left parties have been carrying on regular struggles on people‚Äôs issues that unite the broad masses of working people and provide the space for Left, democratic and secular forces to come together. The fight for restoration of democratic rights and secularism is intrinsically linked with the fight against neo-liberal policies.