Will Bihar see anti-incumbency against Nitish led government in upcoming Assembly elections?

Pic credit: Nehal Ahmad

By Abdullah Azmal, TwoCircles.net

Patna: As the Bihar Legislative Assembly elections is around the corner, resentment is brewing among the youth of Muslim and Yadav communities. Statistically, Bihar is a state that records the highest number of caste-based voting and thus making it green pastures for all political parties. The election seems predictable yet it is uncertain what the youth of Bihar will do. It’s a well-known fact that the upper-caste supports JDU-BJP alliance and the M-Y (Muslim-Yadav) supports the RJD led alliance. But the unemployment and development of the state remains a pressing concern among the youth of all castes. Among all parties, Rashtriya Janta Dal (RJD) has massive M-Y supporters and now when it seems the party is on the verge of extinction, people at the helm will leave no stone unturned to get back into power and re-establish its old glory.

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Talking to TwoCircles.net, a young man, probably a first-time Yadav voter, after being asked who is he going to vote for, dodges the question and points out Nitish Kumar’s scrupulous planning of the split after Bihar’s 2015 election in order to remain the king of Bihar. The youth showed displeasure at the Nitish-Lalu split after the elections. The youth, one by one, annihilated every single party, primarily on the basis of caste and said that he would RJD.

pic credit: Nihal ahmad

Another youth, belonging to the same caste, fired incessant caustic remarks at Nitish Kumar who is popularly known as ‘Sushasan Babu’ in Bihar. The youth tore Kumar’s development façade and good governance and cited growing unemployment, zero industry establishment, crumpling of newly constructed bridges and other issues as poor track record. “There is complete failure of administration and in the cover of alcohol the corruption in police department has boomed,” he said.

Another youth Ahbab Jalil sounded interested and aware of Bihar politics and was resentful towards Nitish. For him, Nitish had broken all his promises. He said he couldn’t find any face to vote for and used a very amusing proverb for Kumar – ‘Triton of the Minnows.” But he was determined not to vote for him as he finds JDU-BJP alliance toxic for the society and nation in whole. He said he would either vote for RJD or AIMIM (if it be in his constituency).

Another Muslim youth was vocal against the JDU-BJP alliance. He called Kumar a hypocrite and a fraud.  “The chief minister says no NRC in Bihar and on the other side he has been in alliance with BJP whose leaders are perpetrators of the NRC and CAA agenda,” he said.

He anticipated that Bihar will witness communal discord if the NDA wins. “Among all parties in Bihar I find RJD to be the most suitable to vote for. At least, they are not communal.”

pic credit: Nehal ahmad

Another group of youngsters TwoCircles.net spoke with were in praise of the JDU-BJP alliance, especially Nitish Kumar. The group was soon hijacked by another group who rebuttal every tall claim made by them. They said that Nitish Kumar failed to provide jobs to the youth and unemployment remains the most important issue.

“The JDU-BJP talked about giving mass employment, but they failed to deliver the promise. Kumar failed to handle the ongoing pandemic and did nothing for migrant labourers,” they said, adding, “Among 29 states in India, Bihar is the only state which does not have quarantine compulsion on arrival from another state.”

They said that the central government is passing bills after bills against farmers and Muslims without holding any discussion. “Everyone is protesting – be it farmers, Muslims, or unemployed youth. The rape cases are high but the government is hurrying to dispose of the issue rather than nabbing the culprits and putting them behind the bars,” they said.

One of the common issue voiced by people of all ages and genders in Bihar is is the hacking of electronic voting machines (EVM). Many youth said that how they or their relatives or acquaintances were not able to vote due to EVM during the last election. The youth seemed to have calculation of every vote and the margin by which their candidate could have won. One youth from the crowd interestingly remarked, “EVM stands for ‘Everyone Vote Modi’ and the crowd broke into laughter.

Pic credit: Nehal Ahmad

The youths not only demanded for EVM inspection but said EVM’s should not be used in future elections. One set of youth was really worried about EVM rigging but the others remain unperturbed, and some others pitched for Ballot Box voting.

From the conversations TwoCircles.net had with scores of Bihar youth, it can be safely said that if the youths of Bihar are not voting along communal lines, then surely it is is going to be a tough fight for Nitish Kumar.

The overall feeling among the youth is that on the one hand, they feel displeased at the non-performing 15 years of government and on another hand, they don’t have any leader from other political parties who they can believe in and support. The ensuing reality makes the upcoming Bihar elections a very interesting battle between the voters and their leaders.