By Binoy Viswam
Election outcome in Bihar is neither an end nor a beginning. It is to be considered as an important landmark in the ongoing battle to decide the destiny of India. The battle was and is to decide whether India should continue as a secular democracy or a theocratic oligarchy. BJP that represents the second option could manage a narrow technical victory. The people’s discontent was reflected emphatically in the outcome. The wafer-thin victory could provide only 12,768(0.03 per cent) votes margin for the BJP alliance. Their vote share decreased by 12 percent compared to the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. RJD leading the Maha Gathbandhan came out as the biggest party in the state assembly with 75 seats.
The election unveiled multiple internal conflicts that have become the essential character of BJP-JDU alliance. Still, it proved the efficacy of the RSS strategy to divide the anti-NDA votes. Bihar once again proved that parties like AIMIM, BSP and SDPI are more than willing to play to the tune of Parivar strategists. They could float two alliances that caused critical losses for the Maha Gathbandhan’s political tally. Though they accuse each other, those parties wedded to religious extremism, are unhesitant to help each other, of course covertly at crucial moments.
The positive effect of Bihar elections is the change it made in the dynamics of Bihar politics. Real issues of life, like unemployment, health care and education, were advanced to the fore by Maha Gathbhandhan. To certain extent the casteist equations were sidelined, according to poll observers. Kamayi, davayi, padtayi were the concepts on which Maha Gathbandhan approached the people. That doesn’t mean that the politics of caste and sub caste has disappeared from Bihar polity. The long-term impact of Bihar electioneering would be a matter of further analysis. Not only for psephologists, more so for political forces.
Maha Gathbandhan was an inevitable need of Bihar. The fascist onslaught of the RSS ideology has been causing serious threats to the very existence of secular India. They unleash naked attacks on constitutional principles. Workers and peasants’ rights are robbed away. Lives of Dalits, minorities and women are thrown to unending miseries. It is high time to caution the ruling classes that ‘poor lives matter’.
In the name of Atmanirbhar Bharat, the RSS, subservient to global capital, is spreading the red carpet for FDI in all segments of the Indian economy. The COVID19 days unmasked the Modi government’s total negligence of the concerns of the downtrodden, including lakhs of migrant labourers, such as those from Bihar and other parts of India. It was in response to these realities that the left parties came forward to strengthen Maha Gathbandhan. The left joining the front gave a new orientation to Gathbandhan and credibility to the fight it has undertaken. That was visible in the battlefield of Bihar, this time.
With clarity of vision and deep understanding of the importance of a united resistance, the left parties worked out the complexities of coalition politics. As far as CPI is concerned, maximum sacrifice was made at the time of seat sharing, fully aware of the inevitability of such a broad-based resistance platform comprising of secular, democratic, left forces. As the first party which was striving hard for this political line for long, for the CPI this sacrifice was possible though difficult. The Communist Party knows quite well who the main enemy is. That understanding is the cardinal issue in charting out the strategy and tactics of any serious political battle.
During Bihar elections, the Communist parties — CPI, CPI(M), CPI(ML) in general — rose to the challenges and played their role positively. The overall electoral performance of Maha Gathbandhan in many areas was successful due to the committed cadre base of the left parties. The strike rate registered by the CPI(ML) was commendable. CPI(M) also could achieve 50 percent success rate. CPI could win 2 seats with 33 percent success rate. With this mandate of the people the left parties would make its distinctive presence in Bihar Assembly, fighting for the rights of the downtrodden. At the same time, they would do the necessary introspection on their own performance in this serious struggle.
The Congress, as the second biggest contingent in the MGB, is expected to make a meticulous stock taking in Bihar, because its performance did affect the overall prospects of Gathbandhan. They could win only 19 seats. After tight bargain Congress contested 70 seats, which was beyond their capacity. Had the grand old national party been a bit more realistic, the result in Bihar might have been different. Unfortunately, even after the failure of MGB, for which its contribution was not insignificant, the Congress response was disappointing. Till date it has not got into a soul-searching mood to make the necessary corrections. Instead, those in its top leadership find pleasure in discussing comparatively trivial issues. They fail to understand the gravity of the present situation and the role their party is supposed to play in facing the challenges
In fact, Congress is going through a crisis, which is not only organizational but more ideological. Replacement of somebody from inside or outside the family will not solve the crisis. It is cut off from the masses even in its traditional strongholds. The Dalits, the minorities and the poor lost their confidence in Congress due to obvious reasons. Since they embarked on the neo liberal policy of global capital, the Congress party began to deviate from its Gandhi-Nehru legacy. If Congress is serious about its coming back, it has to fight the RSS-led Parivar ideologically and politically. Secular India expects Congress to rediscover the Nehruvian ideology and fine tuning of it to the present needs. Bihar results call upon Congress to open their eyes before it is too late. (IPA Service)