Dates are announced for Bihar elections a week ago and preparations are on in full swing for the first full-fledged state elections in this Covid pandemic. While many politicians in other countries trying to take benefit of the corona crisis by postponing elections, India stands true to its traditions and democratic values by holding timely elections.
Each election has a prize; and in state elections the CM’s chair is the biggest prize to win. However, I don’t think same is true for the 2020 Bihar elections. With the stalwarts of Bihar Nitish Kumar, Lalu Prasad Yadav and Ram Vilas Paswan almost at the fag ends of their political career, the present elections could be the proving grounds for the next generation to capture the minds of the people of Bihar.
It will also be worthwhile to look at the most coveted prize money for which the parties are fighting this election. This election is important because it will be one of those elections which will decide who in future will be in power post Nitish Kumar. You guessed it right, parties are not fighting for forming the government as it is almost certain that JDU/BJP will return in power in this very sensitive politically important state.
So, what is the most coveted prize in this election? – The chair of opposition leader. The flagbearer & leader of opposition post this election will edge over other leaders in future elections. When we carefully study the strategies adopted by various young leaders and opposition parties, it will help in understanding why I am saying that Opposition Leader is the most coveted prize of this 2020 Bihar Election.
First, the RJD strategy – The disconnect between RJD and Congress over seat sharing is nothing new. In fact, it is normal between alliance parties; but here it’s interesting that RJD is not ready to give sizable number of seats to Congress. The reason is not that Congress is weak party in Bihar. The RJD wishes to enter the assembly with higher number of seats and position Tejashwi Yadav firmly as an alternative to Nitish Kumar.
The story is no different in Ram Vilas Paswan’s LJP. They are trying to cash on the corona and flood crisis to gain traction of the voters and position Chirag Paswan as a Mass leader. They played it smartly by clearly communicating to the voters that they are not against Modi and BJP but against Nitish Kumar. This carefully crafted strategy will help positioning Chirag Paswan as an alternative of Nitish Kumar. It is for this reason that they decided to go solo in this election otherwise a party which had own just 2 seats in last elections will not plan to fight 143 seats. Ramvilas Paswan’s LJP is fully aware that without BJP or JDU, they are going to win handful seats, but this will help them to project Chirag Paswan as a leader who in all probability will have the ability to lead Bihar.
Upendra Kushwaha Rastritya Lok Samta Party and communist are fighting for relevance in India. CPI is fighting for survival. Leftist ideology is slowly losing to connect with people. One-time leftist bastion, Begusarai is now voting in the favour of BJP. So, despite getting very a smaller number of seats, Communist are forced to be part of Mahagatbandhan.
With Nitish Kumar getting old and not likely to fight next election, leaders like Chirag Paswan or Tejashwi Yadav wants to firmly position them as leader of Bihar and when Nitish Kumar decides to hang his boots, they can seamlessly rise to the top of the minds of the people. Thus, the 2020 elections are crucial for them. Whoever gets the upper hand in this election will get lead by miles in the next one.
One should see long term benefits rather than short term losses. It’s not always one fight for winning, sometimes one desperately wishes to finish second so when the winner retires you automatically become number one in the list.