While I write this article, the counting is still on. But the results are already out as to who really has won Bihar and why. As far as I am concerned, the fundamental spirit of India has won. It is so strange to listen to the arguments on the idiot box when so called pundits talk about politics of caste, creed and polarization on religious line without realising the ground realities of Indian soil.
Yes, I do feel in this hotly contested election, that saw the lowest discourse in the recent times, the victory is of the native Indian mind which has always favoured a course correction. We all need to learn a lesson or two out of this election.
Lesson no. 1: There is no superman for all time in politics. They come and go.
Lesson no. 2: The rustic Indian mind is much sharper than the collective wisdom of psephologists, analysts or so called pundits who come on television channels and discuss as if they know it all.
Lesson no. 3: Caste, creed and religion is a reality, but Indians cannot be manipulated on these bases to win elections.
Lesson no. 4: Voters cannot be influenced on the basis of financial packages on the eve of election. It is counter productive.
On October 19, in the Indian Express blog, I had written that “the tactical error Modi has made was to make this election his personal referendum rather than the party’s“. I further said “if Modi loses Bihar polls then his grip on BJP and government will slip to a great extent and the knives within the BJP and the allies will be out in the open and also the politics of the country will change”. Nitish could emerge as the prime ministerial candidate for 2019.
Yes, this will all happen. This is the second massive blow to Narendra Modi/ Amit Shah duo and the BJP after the Delhi Assembly elections. The loss of face will result in loss of confidence internally within the BJP cadres and the duo themselves. This election was unnecessarily made a prestige issue by the BJP/Narendra Modi. As such, it was keenly watched not only by India but the world over, as the world looks at India now more closely as it has a huge market and economically they have an interest besides looking at functioning of our democracy.
We should learn lesson from the mythology that ego was the downfall of otherwise powerful personalities like that of Duryodhan, Kansa and Ravana who otherwise were Maharathis in their own rights.
Wars and elections are won by the foot soldiers, the job of the general is to motivate and strategise. Without teamwork even a game of kabaddi or cricket cannot be won. Modi, unfortunately, has no team even today. The earlier he realises that only his well wishers will point out his mistakes and weak points the better it is for him. Psychophants will never say that the king has no clothes.
In the outcome of the Bihar election results the politics of India after May 2014 has gone through a course correction. The maha-gains of BJP have been taken away by the mahagathbandhan of Bihar. Mediocrity has never yielded desired results, hence if Modi has mediocrity in his team then it will not work. If he wants to have a course correction then he should rejig his cabinet immediately with capable people whether from inside or outside BJP. People with courage of conviction who can stand up and be counted. RSS needs to decide the priority of the country. At times I feel BJP/RSS have not understood the so called ‘Hindu mind’ which is essentially inclusive and never divisive. Vasudhaiv kutumbakam is what Indian mind is all about.
What made BJP lose this election was they underestimated the Indian mind and the Indian ethos. Midway down the elections they changed their strategy from the agenda of development, education and health to caste, creed and religion, Nitish stuck to his agenda of governance and did not get dragged into joining the issues with Modi. He remained calm and confident. Team Modi showed massive aggression and lacked confidence and conviction. Bihari versus Bahari was the last nail in the coffin of BJP as they did not project a native Bihari. The ‘asmita’ (pride) of Bihar (as Modi used to talk about asmita of Gujarat) was hurt by repeated Jungle Raj Jingle. The BJP spokesperson on TV channels was full of venom. The fight of tolerance versus intolerance was out in the open.
Let’s understand what a common man’s wants in India are very simple. He/she wants peace, security, rule of law and for him/her availability of dal/chawal at an affordable price is of more importance than the financial package which he or she cannot substitute as food.
The show will go on. Indian democracy has emerged more stronger. I hope BJP accepts this defeat with grace and puts the blame where it belongs and certainly the buck stops at their doorsteps. Time for introspection, time for chintan baithak!
The author is a TMC, MP. The views are his own.