Bihar is geared up for battle as the Election Commission of India decided to conduct elections in five phases from 12 October to 5 November. Modi sarkar is facing a much different campaign to the one it romped home in the Lok Sabha election, where it had the element of surprise.
As the picture becomes clear, the RJD-JD ( U)- Congress alliance is the major opponent and a six-party left conglomerate will look to tip the scales. Samajwadi Party, Asaduddin Owaisi’s All India Majlis-e- Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) and Pappu Yadav’s Jan Adhikar Morcha could be the distractions to the main show.
If Delhi election was a litmus test, Bihar will become an acid test for BJP-led NDA. The Delhi darbar is not as imposing as it lost the capital to Arvind Kejriwal and repeatedly stumbled in the upper house of the parliament and had to allow the land acquisition amendments to die a silent death.
Another loss in an electoral battle that too in one of the most populous state, Bihar, the ruling regime’s future will be bleak. The loss will likely dent the NDA’s chances especially in Uttar Pradesh in 2017. The NDA is persisting with its strategy followed in Haryana, Jharkhand and Maharashtra projecting PM Narendra Modi as the trump card and keeping its chief ministerial candidates as a mystery.
In the 2014 Lok Sabha election, the BJP was leading the offensive against the Congress, while Nitish Kumar and Lalu Prasad Yadav were mostly targeting each other. However, all three of them are now targeting the NDA although it is not currently ruling the state. This strange kind of anti-incumbency, against the government at the Centre, has never been seen before.
Modi has tried his best to undo this strange coalition. Unlike the Lok Sabha election, Modi has come out openly against Nitish Kumar, calling consecutive governments in Bihar as ‘Jungle Raj’. At least here in Bihar the Sangh Parivar has brought in a banner of ‘civilisation’ against the Jungle Raj.
One can say that this time the election in Bihar is highly charged with political ideologies; of course with the added mixture of the resentment to the central governments failures. The desperate peasantry, wounded minorities and anguished intelligentsia are all against the union government. The secular formations are having high expectations on this factor, that unlike the Lok Sabha election, where BJP was leading the offensive, it now is being seen as the chief offender.