Patna: With elections around the corner, the ruling National Democratic Alliance (NDA) MLAs and MPs have been facing the wrath of the people. The lack of development, rampant unemployment and a failure to fulfill promises made to them has resulted in nearly a dozen NDA leaders, including three ministers, facing the anger of people, who protested their visits.
The people’s anger has also been directed at a couple of Rashtriya Janata Dal MLAs, but a large part of their frustrations have been directed at the ruling NDA leaders, particularly those from the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Janata Dal-United.
Multiple incidents over the past three days have shown it to be so. Bihar’s agriculture minister and senior BJP leader, Prem Kumar, faced angry people at Chatra village in Goh, Aurangabad district. The incident occured on Tuesday when Kumar, along with local BJP MLA Manoj Sharma were on stage to address a public meeting.
“People shouted slogans against the BJP, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Prem Kumar and Manoj Sharma. Cries of ‘go back, go back’ filled the air with youths threatening to not vote for the BJP again as it had created unemployment,” said Rajesh Prasad, a local from Goh.
According to Prasad, the people indulged in sloganeering, saying “BJP murdabad” and that they would not vote “without roads”. Shocked by the incident, the minister alleged that RJD workers tried to attack him and disrupt his public meeting.
In another case, Bihar Road Construction Minister Nand Kishor Yadav, also a senior BJP leader, faced the wrath of people at his own assembly constituency of Patna Sahib on Wednesday. Local residents erected a banner saying Yadav, their MLA, was missing, and propped it up at the gate of a government-run middle school in Badi Pahari area.
“People are angry over Yadav’s failure to get a bridge constructed to connect Badi Pahari to Choti Pahari area, and that he did not fulfill the promise of setting up a girls high school. It is despite promises made by the Chief Minister two years ago at a function,” said Rabinder Kumar, a local resident. He said that people will continue to protest against Yadav and had decided to not vote for him this time.
In the last Assembly Elections in 2015, Yadav had managed to win the seat with a lesser margin after the JD-U and the RJD had joined hands against BJP-led NDA.
Bihar’s Rural Works Minister and senior JD-U leader, Sailesh Kumar, also faced angry people at Indrukh village in his own constituency of Jamalpur. Party leaders and he were visiting the village for a pre-poll campaign. However, Sailesh Kumar was left irritated when villagers questioned him over the lack of roads, irrigation and other basic facilities, followed by a heated exchange of words. Sensing the mood, he left without addressing the people.
Interestingly, Sushil Kumar Modi, a senior BJP leader, recently claimed that roads were a non-issue in Bihar as the state government has connected all the villages.
Sushil Kumar Singh, the BJP MP from Aurangabad, was also met with angry jobless youths who stopped his vehicle and demanded to know that what happened to promises of two crore jobs annually. Singh was on way to meet people in different villages when youths protested against him in Konch block in the first week of September.
Sanjay Saraogi, the BJP MLA from Darbhanga, was so irritated by the people’s protests last week that he snatched a mobile phone from a youth for asking a question. He later unsuccessfully tried to pacify protesters, who shouted slogans against him and the BJP.
Another BJP MLA from Bakhtiyarpur, Ranvijay Singh, was shown black flags by people from his constituency. They also protested against him, asking him to return.
Two JD-U MLAs, Sashibhusan Hazari and Umesh Kushwaha, also faced the people’s ire. Earlier this week, Kushwaha, the MLA from Mahnar, faced protests at a village where he went to meet people over the lack of development.
NewsClick earlier reported how flood victims in north Bihar protested against the ruling NDA MLAs in July and August over inadequate relief and neglect by the local administration.
A BJP leader admitted that anti-incumbency could not be denied as the NDA has been in power in the state since 2005, except between November 2015 and July 2017, when the party was in opposition following Nitish Kumar’s alliance with the RJD. “We will manage it, this is not a big issue at all. People will favour the NDA again for development and governance,” the BJP leader said.
A JD-U leader, who wished to remain anonymous, said that Nitish Kumar symbolised development and that with him as the face of the NDA, there were no problems. “Some people may be angry due to local issues, but overall people are with the NDA. We will win the polls again,” he said.
As per the latest survey conducted by the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE) in April this year, Bihar's unemployment rate increased by 31.2%, and had risen to 46.6%.The unemployment rate in Bihar was more than the national rate of 23.5%.
It was reflected in the fact that 2.1 million migrant workers officially returned to Bihar after lockdown began in March in view of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Taking it up as an issue which affects everyone, RJD, Congress and Left parties have been raking up joblessness. Both the RJD and Congress received an unexpected response to their respective online platforms from jobless youths. More than five lakh jobless youths have registered themselves with the RJD’s dedicated portal launched on September 5 courtesy a toll free number. Similarly, more than 2.25 lakh jobless youths registered with the Bihar Pradesh Youth Congress (BPYC) portal.