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Bihar goes the governance way, thrashing the RJD and the Congress




For around 2 decades now, Bihar has seemed as the basket case of India, with a low level of development, a crisis of governance, a crippled law and order situation, and the lack of political will to make changes. When Laloo Prasad Yadav came to power, he was like an emergence of the downtrodden castes (although the Yadav community is not really downtrodden), combined with the unflinching support of the Muslim community. This was enough to keep him in power for 15 years, but the incentive to improve things for his population was not really there. At the same time, India as a whole was developing fast, which made the no development stage of Bihar seem even worse.
It was at this stage, in 2005, that Nitish Kumar (in collaboration with the BJP, an ally for many years) came to power for the first time. It is now pretty well acknowledged, that even though Bihar still falls in the lowest section of states in India in terms of many indices of development, the rate of development of Bihar has propelled it one of the highest rates of development in the country. While previously, law and order and infrastructure was a huge issue, there is a huge perception of improvement of the law and order situation, as well as the environment that promotes the development of enterprises. It is this perception that makes people hopeful, gives them a sense of optimism, and which was something that Nitish Kumar was depending upon. The feeling that Nitish Kumar would be banking on would be the grand social coalition that he had built up (through some interesting feats of social engineering, providing incentives to many groups including to women in a big way) along with the promise of an improved law and order situation and development.

And the results of the election proves Nitish right. In a result that shocked everybody, Nitish Kumar and his coalition won an unprecedented wave of public support. The coalition won big, with the JD(U) winning 115 seats, and the BJP winning 91 seats, for a total of 206 seats in the 243 member assembly. For this kind of result, they obtained support across the spectrum, with people from all castes and religions voting for the coalition. To the surprise of the BJP, their candidates got the full benefit of the Nitish Kumar effect, winning even in seats where there is a considerable proportion of Muslims, making this one of the few states where Muslims would have voted for the BJP.
The losers in this were everybody else, Laloo and Ram Vilas Paswan have been reduced to bit players, the ambition of the Congress to make a revival is in tatters, and even the Communist Parties who used to win a few seats are way down. One can really say that the winner is the hopeful population of Bihar, but they have a lot of hopes riding on Nitish Kumar and he has a lot to do.




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