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Bihar crisis: Who will be the Devendra Fadnavis for Bihar amid Nitish-Lalu drama

Lalu ruled Bihar for 15 years and Nitish has been in power for 17 years. Bihar has not seen a new face in past 32 years. Now is the time for BJP to find its own 'Fadnavis' for Bihar.

During the 2014 general elections, Narendra Modi emerged as a formidable force. There was a very obvious and prominent Modi wave. The BJP won 22 seats in Bihar. It’s allies Lok Janshakti Parti (LJP) and Rashtriya Lok Samta Party (RLSP) won 6 and 3 seats each. This way, 31 out of 40 seats in Bihar were won by the NDA coalition.

Just a year and a half later in 2015, there were Vidhan Sabha elections in Bihar. The JDU and RJD coalition secured 151 our of 243 seats in its kitty. The BJP got 53 seats. This despite PM Modi holding as many as 31 rallies in the state during run up to the elections.

PM Modi has hardly held so many preelection rallies in a state. However, despite that, it seems the 2015 loss in the state scared the BJP so much that in 2017 when Nitish broke the alliance with RJD and returned to the NDA fold, the BJP welcomed him with open arms. And hence in 2020, despite BJP having won more seats than the JDU, Nitish Kumar was made the chief minister of state. Is the BJP afraid of going solo in Bihar?

One reason could be the BJP in Bihar does not have a leader on whose name they can seek votes in the state. The current BJP state president in Bihar himself does not have any clout outside of Champaran. He may have had a hattrick in the Lok Sabha and even his father may have had a hattrick from same seat, hardly anyone from even neighbouring districts would have heard of them.

The MP from his neighbouring state is Radha Mohan Singh, who was a third time winner in 2019 Lok Sabha elections. The six-time winner, Radha Mohan Singh registered his first victory in 1989. Despite being state president of BJP and having been a union minister for five years, the BJP cannot garner votes in his name outside of East Champaran. Everyone in Champaran talks about the internal rivalry of these two leaders. Currently, Radha Mohan Singh is the national vice president of the BJP.

Now let us talk about the two deputy chief minister of BJP. Tarkishor Prasad is a four-time winner from Katihar Vidhan Sabha constituency. But, many people outside of East Bihar heard of him for the first time when he was made the deputy chief minister of the state. Another deputy chief minister, Renu Devi has been a four time MLA from Bettiah. But it is very likely that people of West Champaran also do not know of her. Anyway, this is one of the biggest districts of Bihar.

Patna’s Nitin Navin is quite a popular leader amongst the youth and also state president of BJP Yuva Morcha. But despite winning elections for four times, he has not been able to create a name for himself outside of state capital and he is lost amongst the other big names in the state. Names of other ‘experienced’ BJP leaders that come up are Sushil Kumar Modi, Nandkishor Yadav, Prem Kumar and Shahnawaz Hussain. People and BJP karyakartas are so angry with Sushil Kumar Modi that he was not even offered post of deputy CM this time.

Their entire politics revolved and got stuck around exposing the corruption of Lalu Prasad Yadav and his party. Nandkishor Yadav is a great speaker, everyone agrees with it. But despite being a six-time MLA he is not talked about. If someone has been a six-time MLA, his stature automatically grows. 8 time MLA from Gaya, Prem Kumar, has also been leader of opposition, but outside of his district, no one will even vote for him.

Syed Shahnawaz Hussain was a Central Minister in Atal Bihari Vajpayee government. But today he was minister in Bihar state government, that too because of blessings of the ‘high command’. Otherwise that was also a distant possibility. Rajiv Pratap Rudy has not been made central minister this time around. Giriraj Singh definitely stays in news because of his statements and has become a central minister after defeating Kanhaiya Kumar. People in most districts of Bihar have even heard of him. But then he himself has said that this is the last phase of his political career. It will be unlikely that the BJP will gamble to contest elections in his name.

In Mithila, Hukumdev Narayan Yadav was a very popular leader at one point but he has retired from active political life. He came to limelight because of his speech in Lok Sabha in 1977 when he won elections for first time. His son Ashok is also an MP from Madhubani. But he is now more behind the scenes. The top leadership seems to be putting its bets on Nityanand Rai. He has been BJP state president and also a central minister and works alongside Home Minister Amit Shah. But outside of Samastipur, he, too, does not get popular vote.

Celebrities like Kirti Azad and Shatrughan Sinha have left the BJP. Amid all this, the question arises, who will lead the party in the state? Be the fact of the party. What Devendra Fadnavis did in Maharashtra, who can do it in Bihar? Is there any leader who can do it? Maybe not. The BJP will have to find one such leader, who is accepted across districts and communities in Bihar and groom and train him for leadership.

Communities here is important because while at some point the caste lines are blurred to some extent when it comes to voting for Narendra Modi, in state assembly polls, caste politics is still very much alive. In 2020 Vidhan Sabha elections, Tejaswi Yadav led RJD to win 75 seats, making it the largest party. It would be naive to say that the Muslim-Yadav vote bank had no role to play in this. And hence, if JDU, RJD and Congress join hands again, the BJP will likely be destroyed in the state.

Reason would be the same. Lack of local leadership in the party. This is also true that in name of Narendra Modi, BJP has contested and won elections in many states and established local leadership as well. For example, in Jharkhand, there is Raghubar Das, Manoharlal Khattar in Haryana, Devendra Fadnavis in Maharashtra, Trivendra Singh Rawat in Uttarakhand, Jayram Thakur in Himachal Pradesh and Yogi Adityanath in Uttar Pradesh. The BJP declared them as CM candidates and won elections in their names. These leaders have also proven themselves. Interestingly, Devendra Fadnavis is also in-charge of Bihar state.

Tarkishor Prasad, Renu Devi or Sushil Kumar Modi despite being deputy chief ministers, will not be able to pull off what Fadnavis did in Maharashtra. Bihar needs one Devendra Fadnavis. One leader who is a great orator and is wellversed and accepted within the party and is also loved by the people of Bihar. And if not loved, at least not completely rejected by the people.

Yadavs still vote for RJD in name of Lalu Yadav. Nitish Kumar also started his real political career with ‘Kurmi Chetna Rally’. Ram Vilas Paswan ran his party only on support of 8% vote from his community. In this, even the BJP should think of something new.

Bihar is a poor state. One analyst hence says that the world’s largest political party does is neither in any rush to come to power in this state nor is it even trying to win elections here. However, it is not true. PM Modi conducting over two dozen rallies in Bihar ahead of 2015 elections proves this theory wrong. Which party would like to let go of a state with population of 10 crore. The state has 243 Vidhan Sabha seats and 40 Lok Sabha seats and can make or break things at national level. The BJP needs to find just one leader who can do it.

Arvind Kejriwal’s antics won’t work in Bihar. We have seen how things have turned out for party floated by Pushpam Priya Chaudhary. Tejaswi Yadav also connects to audience in the style that was popularised by his father Lalu Prasad Yadav. Not everyone can be Narendra Modi that he can directly connect to the people. But no BJP leader in Bihar is even trying to do this. At least they can try. People here are fed up of Lalu and Nitish. They want someone new, an alternate. If no one comes up, RJD will return to power and Tejaswi will be Chief Minister and Julgleraj would return.

Time is also right currently. Lalu ruled Bihar for 15 years and Nitish has been in power for 17 years. Bihar has not seen a new face in past 32 years. Now that Lalu is convict in corruption cases and is also not keeping too well health wise and Nitish Kumar’s impression is that of ‘palturam’, if BJP can manage to come up with its own ‘Fadnavis’ it will be cherry on cake.

Ayodhra Ram Mandir special coverage by OpIndia

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अनुपम कुमार सिंह
अनुपम कुमार सिंह
भारत की सनातन परंपरा के पुनर्जागरण के अभियान में 'गिलहरी योगदान' दे रहा एक छोटा सा सिपाही, जिसे भारतीय इतिहास, संस्कृति, राजनीति और सिनेमा की समझ है। पढ़ाई कम्प्यूटर साइंस से हुई, लेकिन यात्रा मीडिया की चल रही है। अपने लेखों के जरिए समसामयिक विषयों के विश्लेषण के साथ-साथ वो चीजें आपके समक्ष लाने का प्रयास करता हूँ, जिन पर मुख्यधारा की मीडिया का एक बड़ा वर्ग पर्दा डालने की कोशिश में लगा रहता है।

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