Is Bihar burning? Why?
Top Angle shot ofPatna
By Vijay Sanghvi
In two week, the final count of votes in the Bihar assembly elections will blow off the lid over the cauldron simmering an internal crisis. It will reshape politics with new equations between the Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the Sangh Parivar, the mentor of the Bharatiya Janata Party. It will entail quick responses from the Prime Minister with aggressive actions to assert his authority if he succeeds in Bihar or otherwise launch more offensive to retain the centre of power in his hands.
He began the intensive campaign with hopes to wrest power from hands of the deprived class outfits that dispossessed the upper strata of power levels two and half decades earlier. It was an important political challenge to him to prove the old BJP formula and image were rendered redundant in the modernized India. However, the Sangh chief was equally important in his political mathematics that victory to NaMo in Bihar would put him beyond his control. Moreover it also would eliminate the grounds of existence of the Sangh. Nothing else can explain his provocation to loyalists to raise communal tension storms in parts of the neighbouring Uttar Pradesh.
The issue was not banned on cow slaughter but create a campaign to deter meat consumption by the Muslims. The politics were aimed to terrorize the Muslims to affect the minority to vote massively against NaMo in Bihar. He even castigated the state unit of VHP for its failure to move in support of agitation seeking to violate the ban orders on the use of the Ganga Ghat in Varanasi for religious rites by the private body of ascetics. The emphasis was not on rites performance but to violate the police orders. One strident voice even demanded a ban on entry of the Muslims in particular streets of Varanasi.
Mohan Bhagwat is not a political naïve not to visualize the adverse impact of rising communal tension in Uttar Pradesh while the Prime Minister Narendra Modi was presenting a secular face to seek change in economic prospects of young in Bihar regardless of their caste and creed. He was encouraged by the public response to his campaign based on economic issues. Now no BJP leader is confident of the outcome. The BJP chief Amit Shah displayed his desperation in summoning trouble makers in the UP unit of the party to castigate them for derailing the economic development agenda of the Prime Minister in Bihar. He also admitted the adverse impact of the troubles in UP in first two phases of voting in Bihar.
Another indication of diminishing hopes came from a sudden increase in the number of rallies with the Prime Minister reaching even up to bloc levels in the state. Need for intensity increase was palpable to his campaign managers and NaMo had to accede to their demand. The newly felt need was a giveaway of the nervous tensions among the managers. Amit Shah could not have achieved much even by sacking six trouble makers immediately from the party. He has to wait for the outcome. The victory would help to pull down the guillotine on several heads.
The relations between the Sangh and its political wing BJP were troubled from the founding day in 1980. The founder leaders sought as their priority to make the platform a secular alternative. The party has innumerable heads, but its feet were missing as the Sangh refused to lend service of the RSS machinery for electioneering. The BJP had eggs on its face as its strength got reduced to mere two seats from outside its citadel on Hindi belt in the 1984 election and in drawing a blank in the Kashmir assembly polls in 1986. In 1989, it surrendered to the Nagpur establishment. It won 77 seats in 1989 to prop up the government of OBC elements as its one of two support pillars. The marriage of convenience soon became inconvenience as the BJP was alarmed by the move for consolidation of the OBC factions into a consolidated vote bank. It was the direct undermining of its political grounds. The variable ratio between the upper strata and the deprived scared the BJP.
But the higher levels lost power levers to newly organized poor classes as new aspirants in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar in 1990 and has not been able to win back. The BJP could wrest power from the Congress in Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and few other states as no party emerged in these countries to organize the widespread intermediate castes in a consolidated vote bloc. It is political imperative for NaMo to have his control of Bihar first followed by Uttar Pradesh to consolidate his hold.
His development programmes in last fifteen months have been mainly addressed to the deprived and the Dalit or lower strata of society with Gandhiji becoming the icon of his governance. No specific attention is accorded to needs of the middle class. Even abroad he talks of inflow of investments for expanding industries perceived as benefits to the rich class. His individual attention to the sick for development and rich for expansion of their empires may have been suspected as attempts to build his private vote bank away from traditional vote bank of BJP as neither poor nor rich fall in it. NaMo was apparently trying to draw away young from vote banks of OBC parties in Bihar with his mantra of the change. He also stymied attempts to go alone in Bihar by a BJP section by leaving the alliance partners dissatisfied with the number of seats given to them. While the party slogan in Bihar was ‘This time BJP government.’
In pin pricks to the Prime Minister by the Sangh, one can clearly see attempts to control him by compelling him to come back to the old fold and seek the glory of the Golden Era for young in the past instead of promising it in future. NaMo refused to take it. His refusal is the ground for tension and internal crisis. It has been simmering in the cauldron on slow fires. The Bihar poll outcome would pour oil on the fire to ignite fireworks