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Bihar Assembly Poll: Battle for Survival

Newsclick interviewed Prof. Anil Mishra on upcoming Bihar Assembly Poll.  Anil feels that the Bihar Assembly Poll can play a major role in changing course of current political situation in the country. It may be a big barrier in front of BJP lead NDA government in the Centre. BJP may not be able to move with various anti people neo liberal policies as the required majority in Rajya Sabha will not be attained is Nitish led coalition wins the elections.  Anil also feels that the Bihar poll is an ideological battle between communal politics of BJP on one hand and principals of socialism on the other. He also extensively talks about role of parties like LJP and HAM led by ex -Chief Minister Manjhi.  Anil explains that this could be revival of a strong front at the national politics too.

Pranjal: Hello and welcome to Newsclick. Bihar Assembly elections have been announced and it is called a major battleground for the incumbent BJP government. To discuss the issue we have with us Anil Mishra, who is a professor in Delhi University and also a political analyst. Recently legislative council elections have got completed and NDA has got around 12 seats and other has got 10 seats. So what implications do you think the results on the upcoming Bihar Assembly polls?

Anil Mishra: I don't think any major implications of this result because it is indirect elections which is very confined to limited electorates. So I don't think relations between it and just by chance, NDA ha s got two more seats than the JDU and the RJD alliance.

Pranjal: When you talk about the JDU and the RJD alliance, it is said that it may be a losing battle for the Nithish Nitish Kumar because he came into power replacing Lalu Yadav. So do you think is it true what media is saying that Nitish may suffer, Lalu may gain?

Anil: This kind of conclusion is based on the fact that Lalu has got more caste based where he has got complete support of Yadav, perhaps large section of Muslims also. But Nitish Kumar has general appeal to the electorate, if he is able to retain that general appeal to the general electorate. Last time even the forward caste and other caste have given support to Nitish Kumar and if he is able to retain the support then I don't think he will be that loser. But, besides that if you don't go strictly about electoral politics, he might gain politically. Sometimes you lose electorally but you may gain politically and if he retains his image, an all India image and all kinds of things, then he may be one of the rallying points in the coming days and may play a more important role at the centre also in galvanizing the entire anti-BJP parties and people.

Pranjal: When you talk about BJP, it has been continuously winning elections since 2014. After Loksabha it has won assembly polls also in various places. So Bihar is supposed to be a major check point to it. If they lose, do you think the face of the Indian political scenario may change.

Anil: It may not change but of course it is going to have a very important impact on the course of the Indian politics because then after that all other political parties because there is going to be election in West Bengal. There is going to be election in Uttar Pradesh very soon. So that people can draw a leaf from there and then all the secular forces and Left democratic forces may think to come together and give a real challenge to the onslaught of this Bharatiya Janata Party which is going on right now. So in that sense it is a very crucial election.

Pranjal: When you talk about BJP and the secular forces, if we look at the background of BJP be it by-polls in Uttar Pradesh or major communal violence in Saharanpur, by-poll in Bihar, Muzaffarpur. So do you think this sort of polarization is going on the ground in terms of Hindu polarization also and Muslim polarization also in order to consolidate the opposition votes.

Anil: Bharatiya Janata Party in the mask of development and all kind of rhetoric, they know that their vote bank is solid if they polarize Hindu vote and therefore, their other leaders like Sadhvi and Giriraj Singh their statement is not accidental statement. It is quite deliberate and you must have noticed that no single leader of importance of Bharatiya Janata Party ever refuted it. They have not said anything about that statement just and therefore, they are doing that kind of politics and try to mobilize Hindu votes but my apprehension is that they are not going to get success in that because there are different kinds of other issues that involve and this variety and differences that prevails entire throughout the country it is very difficult to mobilize Hindu votes.

Pranjal: If you look at 2014 elections, it was not Hindu voting for  BJP but it was against incumbent congress government. So also if we look at NDA's overall party structure and their alliances, Majhi has come into alliance with NDA. He may come in alliance with NDA. What role are this small parties going to play in this election. Will they move away from BJP, will they be with BJP or not?

Pranjal: Early to say this but I think this smaller parties which come out like Majhi and earlier Ramvilas Paswan, Upendra Kushwaha, they will try to stick to BJP and they will be satisfied with whatever the seats they will get in BJP but the point is, earlier when Ramvilas Paswan joined BJP in Bihar situation was different. So Ramvilas Paswan with all his friends they got 4 to 6 seats in Bihar. But this time it's not going to be repeated because Modi lehar is gone. So that kind of Modi's appeal is not there. In last one year, Modi's performance has not been that good and he has been exposed and all his promises seems to be a very hollow thing. So therefore I don't think that appeal is there. So each has to work hard in their own constituencies. It's not Modi lehar that can I mean ride on.

Pranjal: That is even visible with MLC election also because it was not a complete whitewash. Also, if we look at it I mean the JD(U), RJD, Congress they all are coming together it's a revival of socialist politics in Bihar which has been a ground for socialist politics. It's also a war of ideologies. Socialism versus Communalism and Dictatorship politics in Bihar itself.

Anil: But it is not exactly war between socialism because we are not sure of how much agenda that party will carry about socialism. But one thing is it's an ideological battle and there is no dispute about it and it's a battle between democratic secular forces on one hand and communal forces on other hand which try to destroy all democratic institutions. 

Pranjal: Left parties come together to form an alliance and contest elections individually instead of going any of these blocks. The neo-liberal onslaught that this government has been following Left has it's concrete position on it. So do you think that's a major development that's happened in the Bihar assembly elections?

Anil: This is a very good development in Bihar election because the Left parties will be able to educate the people in the election and  they also would like to throw their own agenda to the people and in that context every election has two process. One is to form the government and another is also to give a new kind of consciousness to the people. So in that case I think Left politics and Left parties coming together is very relevant not only for this election but for the coming election also because there is always a ground for Left in Bihar. There will always a ground for Left politics in Bihar. It was very strong in certain pockets and certain bills for a very long time.

Pranjal: They have been also in the government for past many times.

Anil: In the past many times and Left agenda has been pushed to some extent but the point is that if the Left come together and even if they do not get much seats, they can pressurize other government to pursue the socialist agenda.

Pranjal: Thank you Anil for giving us your time and as the things proceed we will come back to you on such issues. Thank you. Thank you for watching Newsclick.

DISCLAIMER: Please note that transcripts for Newsclick are typed from a recording of the program. Newsclick cannot guarantee their complete accuracy.




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