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HomePoliticsHow to be a “political scientist” – Bihar edition

How to be a “political scientist” – Bihar edition

The online right cannot afford to keep all its focus on a small perceived coterie around Delhi.

Like everyone else, the online right has a blind spot. They always end up discussing the finest minds on the Delhi liberal circuit, the same old Rajdeep Sardesai, Sagarika Ghose, Rohini Singh, Shivam Vij, Mihir Sharma, Yogendra Yadav and the like. In doing so, they often miss out on the deep insights being cultivated in minds of political scientists all across the country. A bit ironic, isn’t it?

Today, let me take you far beyond this circuit, with a case study from Bihar. Meet D M Diwakar, an eminent political scientist of the A N Sinha Institute of Social Sciences in Patna. His quotes on the evolving politics of Bihar regularly appear in news outlets, including the BBCThe Hindustan TimesBusiness Standard, The Wire and pretty much everywhere else. Even in Turkish news outlets covering the Bihar election.

So let us start with this deep insight from D M Diwakar into elections in Bihar:

“Repeated verbal attacks on Lalu Prasad and his family highlight the utter desperation in the BJP camp. The BJP has failed to neutralize the Lalu factor despite all attempts,” commented prominent political expert DM Diwakar of the AN Sinha Institute of Social Studies, Patna.

He said all issues raked up by the PM had failed to work in Bihar so far. “He (PM) began with Ram temple, cow protection, 10 per cent reservation to upper castes, NRC, Pulawama terror attack, and Balakot air strike. But all issues have flopped now as the masses are now tired of hearing them. So, the PM is raising one issues after another to somehow maintain the momentum of the poll campaign,” he said.

All issues raised by the PM have flopped. Despair marks the BJP’s campaign. The masses are tired of him. Did I mention that D M Diwakar is speaking about how the 2019 Lok Sabha election is turning out? You know, the one in which NDA scored 39 out of 40 seats in Bihar, with over 50% of the vote. The election in which RJD scored ZERO!

With insights like these, how could D M Diwakar be any less than a “prominent political scientist”?

And here is D M Diwakar, speaking before the 2020 Bihar elections.

“According to professor D. M. Diwakar of the Patna-based A.N. Sinha Institute of Social Sciences, Tejashwi is properly pandering to the electorate.

“Tejashwi is speaking the language people desire to hear,” Diwakar said. “Secondly, the NDA leaders have responded by saying that further government employment is not possible because it would hurt development. They fail to realise that even if you have roads and power, people need to have money to pay for using roads and paying for power consumed.”

We know that in 2019 elections, the PM failed to connect with the electorate. Again, in 2020 elections, the NDA failed to connect, while Tejashwi spoke the language of the people. And still somehow, the NDA won both elections. Political “science” gone wrong?

Anyway, observe how the good professor is able to poke holes in Nitish’s development record. He seemed a little bit more upbeat about Nitish Kumar’s development record around five years ago.

But D M Diwakar, director of Patna-based AN Sinha Institute of Social Studies, an autonomous research institute under the Bihar government, says that Nitish has set an example by resigning from the post of CM and designating a dalit leader as successor.

“Look at the pro-development policies of Nitish. He has not only set up the Mahadalit Mission but also set up a commission for its development,” he said. He added that the former chief minister had also started the homestead land scheme for dalit families.

“Manjhi will definitely understand and work towards uplift of dalits in Bihar,” he said.”

This was from 2015. Back when Nitish Kumar had broken with BJP and gone with RJD. I suppose at the time Nitish had done everything right, from development to speaking the language of the people. Then, everything went wrong once he allied with BJP. The political “science” proves this beyond doubt.

Let us go back to 2013, the watershed moment in Bihar politics when Nitish Kumar broke ties with the BJP. What did the political “science” say back then?

Diwakar insisted the BJP stood to lose more than the JD(U). “The OBCs are much larger in number (than the upper castes) and look up to Nitish and Lalu for leadership.

He thinks Kumar will get substantial support from the Muslims, who constitute about 16% of Bihar’s population.”

And we all know who lost more in the 2014 election that followed, the BJP or the JDU. But hang on to that 2013 insight from D M Diwakar about the Muslim vote. Subsequently, he expanded on that theme in April 2014.

The feeling among Muslims is Kumar has put the survival of his government at stake to distance himself from Modi. How can they not vote for him?” asks D M Diwakar, director of the Patna-based AN Sinha Institute of Social Studies.

See? As long as you don’t try to match the insights with results on the ground, the political “science” works perfectly. After the 2014 election, D M Diwakar went on to explain thus:

DM Diwakar, director of Patna think tank AN Sinha institute of social studies, believes Nitish called it right in his assessment of a severely adverse Muslim reaction to Modi’s emergence as NDA’s poll mascot.

Where he miscalculated was in assuming that the Muslims would go with him once he broke with the BJP. The minorities backed whosoever they thought was the strongest anti-BJP candidate. It so happened the Lalu-led alliance candidates, rather than JD (U) nominees, were perceived to fit the bill”, Diwakar said.

There is so much wisdom there that it could only have come from a supposed think tank. So Nitish miscalculated about Muslim votes. The question of whether the professor himself miscalculated in his own political insights does not appear to have come up. That is generally the best way to do “science.”

Bihar will see many elections in the future. And we can hope that before each of them, the media will seek out more such pearls of wisdom from the venerable Prof. D M Diwakar.

The online right cannot afford to keep all its focus on a small perceived coterie around Delhi. Because, all across our land, there are many such eminent political minds, dispensing their wisdom, forever inspiring the next generation of “experts.” And their role in deciding the “narrative” is just as important as the Delhi coterie, perhaps even more so.

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Abhishek Banerjee
Abhishek Banerjee is a math lover who may or may not be an Associate Professor at IISc Bangalore. He is the author of Operation Johar - A Love Story, a novel on the pain of left wing terror in Jharkhand, available on Amazon here.  

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