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Wednesday, 19 June 2013

Why Nitish (JDU) dared to quit NDA alliance??

The JDU (Janta Dal United) finally announced the split of its 17th year old alliance with BJP in Bihar and walked out of the NDA. This was more or less result of the Narendra Modi's foots coming closer to Delhi as he was declared the party chief compaingner for the upcoming 2014 lok sabha elections in goa party meet.

JDU and NDA splits is also a result of Nitish-Modi war or it might be a clash of two strong personalities. One has to understand the basic of bihar's politics in order to find the prime reason behind this split.





Nitish Kumār was born in Bakhtiyarpur, Bihar in a Kurmi family. In Bihar there are approx 3.5 percent kurmi population that is too small to help him win elections. Even the people belonging to the caste are geographically concentrated and not spread throughout the state. Nitish biggest rival in bihal is Lalu Prasad Yadav of RJD. In comparison, the yadavs, who supports Lalu form approx 11.7 percent of the population.

From many years Nitish has had to chip away at votes from other castes. This included wooing the mahadalits (Known as Paswan schedule castes, which included Dalits other than the Dusadh, Chamar, Pasi and Dhobi castes) and extremely backward classes or the EBCs (known as non yadav backward classes). The EBCs form 32 percent of the state’s population but had only a 5 percent representation in the state assembly.

Nitish Kumar also wooed the backward caste Muslims known as pasmandas. That helped Nitish to break Lalu's formula of Muslim-Yadav. The Muslim-Yadav formula was the prime reason of Lalu consecutive successive elections despite of bad governance in the state. Muslims in Bihar play an important role as they from around 17 percent of the population as nation stand at 9 percent.

Interesting point in Bihar is that even Lalu also successfully wooed muslims. But eventually he concentrated on the upper caste of muslims known as ashrafs. He even distributed gifts to the ashrafs.

Nitish Kumar was empathetic to the cause of backward caste Muslims while Lalu took Muslim support for granted. On october 2005, seven pasmanda political parties issued a clarion call to defeat Lalu’s (RJD) in the state assembly elections.  Many Slogans like ‘Vote hamara fatwa tumhara, nahi chalega’ and ‘jo pasmanda ki baat karega, wahi Bihar pe raaj karega’ became the order of the day.

This split among the muslims helped Nitish Kumar to become the Chief Minister of Bihar in 2005. That time Nitish smelled the power of muslim vote bank in bihar. The NDA alliance of BJP and JDU won just 11 out of the 40 Lok Sabha seats in the state. Even after the people of bihar was fedup by the bad governance of Lalu and Rabri. But the truth is Muslims of bihar did not voted for BJP-JDU alliance cause of 2002 godhra riots.

After smelling the power of muslims vote bank in bihar Nitish Kumar focused to wooed the pasmanda Muslims and did not allowed Narendra Modi to campaign in Bihar. And that time The JD(U)-BJP alliance did very well as a result, winning 143 out of the 243 seats in the state assembly. This anti Modi stand continued the alliance did very well in the state in the 2009 Lok Sabha elections even in the 2010 state assembly elections as well. H

So, any kind of association with a BJP that has Narendra Modi at the top would clearly have cost Kumar the pasmanda votes and will help Lalu muslim- Yadav formula. Eventually in recent Lok Sabha by-election in Mahrajganj, the RJD candidate won by 1.37 lakh votes. The worrying thing here for Kumar was that Muslims seem to have voted for the RJD candidate. This was the final nail in the coffin for the BJP-JD(U) alliance.

Now everyone is thinking why nitish continued for eleven years if he had a problem with modi. Even at that time Nitish was the railway minister. Nitish had not only took the side of modi but also he once suggested modi to come out in national politics as he developed gujrat.
In 2002, the situation was different, Modi was no playing a major role in BJP.  And Now Modi is leading the party from front and supposedly the BJP’s prime ministerial candidate, the Muslim vote would have moved to RJD, which is something that Kumar could not afford . In the past Nitish managed to keep Modi away from Bihar, but now with Modi in this position, that would not have been possible.

That’s one side of the coin. The caste alliances that Nitish Kumar built were one reason behind the success of the BJP-JD(U) alliance. The alliance was also helped by the upper caste vote that the BJP brought with it. The Brahmins, Rajputs, Bhumihars and Kayasthas, form the upper castes and account for around 16 percent of votes in Bihar.
This was a master stroke for the alliance. In fact, JDU leader and former convener of NDA, Sharad Yadav, admitted  and said after the 2005 win- “We had the masses with us but I am not sure we would have won such a landslide without the BJP. Although some JD(U) members wanted to break from BJP, we realised that it was the BJP which had the support system the upper-caste dominated press, bureaucracy and judiciary. Though Nitish led from the front, the BJP played its part in this win.”

State like bihar for any party the support of the upper castes is a huge help. What the BJP also brings with itself is the RSS cadre, which is a huge help during the election process, from campaigning to manning booths to having the right electoral agents at the right booths. This is something that Nitish would have realised during the recent Maharajganj Lok Sabha poll.
Not the situation is only that for nitish to go along with the congress for the loss of the votes. But that will not also help JDU ironically. As congress is almost dead in bihar and secondly congress is already in the alliance of RJD. So that will not help JDU.

As far as the BJP is concerned it will continue to get the support of the upper castes in the state. But that in itself will not be enough to win a substantial number of the 40 Lok Sabha seats. In the current Lok Sabha, the BJP-JD(U) alliance had 32 seats from the state.
Henceforth, JDU and BJP both will lose votes from the state. As Hindutva is not a big matter in Bihar as in 1990, Lalu arrested Advani for the Rathyatra but the state was peaceful.

As Modi in the charge of BJP,  he really had to some more hard work or some more magic in other states also to ensure more no number of loksabha seats in upcoming election. Whereas Nitish is more stick to stop Lalu to not apply Muslim-Yadav formula.




Monday, 10 June 2013

Biggest Tantrum of Indian Politics

If Advani was really unhappy he should had convincingly demonstrate that he will be stay away from Goa, but because he was genuinely unwell was to have addressed media from his residence and passed on his best wished to Narendra Modi. It would have avoided the ridiculous spectacle on the most senior leader of BJP who trying to sound sincere in their explanations about why Advani was absent. But then, Mr Advani is sulking, and that means that denial of displeasure by way of an excuse  must necessarily be accompanied by a very public demonstration of unhappiness by ensuring that the excuse is obviously flimsy.  The assertion that 'I am not upset, I am only unwell' needs to be said huffily enough to leave people in no doubt as to the fact that the opposite is true.  In this case, what Advani is seeking is not so much to communicate to his party about what he feels, for that has been abundantly clear for a while now, but to use the prospect of public embarrassment as a way of getting what his way. 



The problem in this case, is that there was nothing very specific that he wanted. The question of whether Modi should be called the convener of the elections or its leader was a relatively minor issue; the larger question of who will lead the BJP in the next elections seems to have been largely settled well in advance. Advani's sulk was not backed by any real threat, for indeed there was no viable alternative that he could have proposed. The idea that he himself be called upon to lead the party in the elections is by now, a possibility that is theoretical enough to verge on fantasy, and there is no other candidate the party can rally round with any great enthusiasm. Indeed, if the objective was to thwart Modi's chances then perhaps the best time would be after the elections, when the alliance arithmetic is being put together. That is Modi's greatest point of vulnerability, the fear that he is too polarising a figure to lead a scattered group of alliance partners with their electoral constituencies to protect, but any attempt to have come in his way at this stage would only lead to great unrest within the party. Had Mr Advani's use of the sulk been strategic, then perhaps there was another time and another way to use it. 
Which is what makes Mr Advani's sulk more than a little sad. There is the sulk that can be a potent tool of blackmail and then there is the one that craves an acknowledgement of symbolic significance, and unfortunately Mr Advani's attempt falls in the latter category. In the former case, the sulk comes at a strategic time, and is backed by a specific demand. It also rests on a knowledge of one's own indispensability to the other side. The sulk is used to dramatically alter the previous state of equilibrium by raising the stakes significantly at a crucial moment. This kind of sulk belongs to the Kaikeyi school of thought where a tantrum is used as a pivotal moment in enforcing a new reality. 
The other kind of sulk is the one more commonly used by the likes of Mamata Banerjee, and now Mr Advani , where it used as a reflexive  vehicle of communication rather than as a deliberate instrument of change. It is an expression of an emotional response that spills over, and comes without a coherent plan. Here the only possible solution that can be imagined is that of saving face of the one sulking by some symbolic act of appeasement. Like the elderly relative at an Indian wedding, who becomes the temporary cynosure of attention because of some exaggerated problem he has found with something trivial, the only solution is to give the sulking person some emotional balm and make indulgent soothing sounds of ingratiation. Mr Advani's sulk was nothing but an invitation to be put to be put to pasture in an appropriately respectful way- the equivalent of a lifetime achievement award or the position of a Chairman Emeritus, connoting ritual significance but emphatically denying importance. 
It is interesting that the tantrum is such a common part of our political landscape. One would think that an act that reeks of immaturity and emotional neediness would have little place in the very adult world of politics, but that is far being true in India. The fact that so many politicians throw tantrums underlines the fact there is a market for these, in that at some level we accept the legitimacy of the expectation that drives such behaviour. The idea that adults retain a healthy dollop of childishness within them is implicitly understood and accepted. One has only to go back to the time when Sonia Gandhi declined to lead the government at the time of UPA's first term and remember the bizarre  and utterly cringe-worthy display of emotion that so many senior Congress leaders engaged in on national television. It was as if the leaders of the country had regressed into a state of infantile neediness, so naked were they in their abjectness. 


The dividing line between a show of strength and an admission of irrelevance is a thin one. Sometimes a gesture speaks much louder than any substantive action. The transparent excuse used by Mr Advani in this case points to his unwillingness to really rock the boat as well as his inability to compel compliance to his desires. Trapped in a reality he can neither accept nor change, his gesture is one of empty petulance and  signals the end of an era. When the  past becomes clingy and burdensome, it becomes much easier to shrug  off. This might be that moment for the BJP. As to what its future is under Narendra Modi, is another question altogether.