By Arun Srivastava
Muslim, Yadav and dalit combination failed miserably to repeat the magic of 2015 assembly election and stop the juggernaut of BJP in Bihar. What was really intriguing this combination even could not reinforce the performance of the SP-BSP in Uttar Pradesh. Even in 2014 Lok Sabha elections the family members of the Samajwadi patriarch, Mul;ayam Singh Yadav had won seven seats. Of the 351seats that NDA won these two states contributed around 100 seats.
The BJP would win so much of seats from the two states was even beyond the comprehension of the saffron stalwarts though the BJP chief used to claim that his party would get not less than 300 seats. His claim in the initial stages was rejected as untenable, but now in the present scenario when the party has got 302 seats alone, trepidation is being expressed on this grand achievement. People are unwilling to believe its fairness. What have simply strengthened the public notion are the RJD and SP losing all the seats they contested from Bihar and UP.
The worst has been the case of RJD which could not even one seat. Lalu Yadav has been dictating the political discourse in Bihar on the basis of the numerical strength of the MY combination. But this time the combination which had completely changed the political discourse of the state during the last 30 years, could not salvage the situation for the RJD.
The RJD which was floated by Lalu in 1997 in the wake of his involvement in fodder scam drew a blank this time. The Rashtriya Janata Dal posted its worst showing, though his adversaries and enemies saw this development as the beginning of the end of Lalu’s caste based politics, they also visualise this as the closing point of the Mandal brand of politics
No doubt this explanation is certainly not tenable. It is the defeat of all the RJD candidates and wrong handling of the electoral mechanism that simply reinforces the claims of anti RJD leaders. They recall how in 2015 the RJD had snatched the victory from the mouth of the BJP notwithstanding the media and the exit polls had given nearly 185 seats out of 240 to the BJP. However the actual counting of the votes saw BJP badly losing the game. It could win nearly 50 seats. Nitish was installed as the chief minister. The victory was attributed to the MY and dalit combination.
It is a fact that Nitish on his own does not command 10 per cent of votes. Kurmi, the caste to which he longs hardly has 1.6 percent population. He does not have a strong caste support base. Through out his political career he either rode on the bandwagon of BJP or RJD.
In both the states, UP and Bihar the MY combination has a sizeable population. While in UP the Muslims with 25% and Yadav’s 20 % constitute a sizeable proportion of the population, in Bihar Muslims have 20 % and Yadavs 15 % of the population. Coming together of these two communities was the most momentous development. But in this election in spite of Dalits joining the MY combination, neither Akhilesh nor Tejashvi could save the prestige of their parties.
One question that is high on the mind of politicians, political analyst and academics who endorse the Mandal and social justice line of Lalu Yadav,is whether the Muslim, Dalit and Yadav alliance really voted for SP and RJD? Some even argue that RJD has lost its grip on Muslims and also Yadavs. The Muslims who had to face lynching, torture and humiliation at the hands of saffron vigilantes were waiting for the right time to avenge their insult and humiliation. But they refrained from voting for the RJD once the situation surfaced.
The reason being cited is the leadership of RJD failed to evoke the feeling of connectivity and allegiance among this section of the electorate. In jail Lalu did not have direct involvement in the election process, but waht he could have done from inside the prison to direct his son in a more pragmatic and judicious manner. Tejashvi also ignored the issue of forming the state level coordination committe of the alliance partners and evolve a common minimum programme and also a strategy to counter Modi. Every alliance leader was free to sing at his own tune.
In fact questions are also being asked whether the RJD has lost its grip over the Yadav and Muslim votes; whether Tejashvi is not acceptable to them as the natural heir of Lalu and leader of RJD. It is significant that RJD suffered humiliating defeats in the constituencies known as its social support base. Even Lalu’s daughter Misa Bharati could not win from the Yadav bastion. The three senior leaders former union minister Raghuvansh Prasad Singh, its Muslim face the former Bihar’s finance minister Abdul Bari Siddiqui and Jay Prakash Narain Yadav were defeated. The party lost from Araria, Purnea and Katihar, having large Muslim population.
With Lalu in jail the task for running the party and election campaigning was the responsibility of his son Tejashvi. But he could not handle the matter effectively. While he allotted five seats to RLSP which utterly lacks a support base, three seats to VIP and three seats to non-starter HAM of Jitan Ram Manjhi—incidentally all the candidates of theses parties lost miserably—he offered only 9 seats to the Congress that too after harshly insulting the Congress leadership. He even did not listen to Rahul’s pleas. Rahul not willing to wreck the alliance accepted the dictates of Tejashvi. Surprisingly the only one seat that has gone to mahagathbandhan kit in Bihar has been won by the Congress in Kishanganj. Siddiqui even asked for complete reorganisation of the party. Some leaders have also sought a clarification for doling out 11 seats to comparatively weaker and irrelevant parties.
Senior RJD leaders who were initially supportive of the idea to entrust the task of leading the party to Tejashvi after poll debacle have started review of the functioning of the party and also to bring structural changes in the organisation. These leaders also demand analysis of the poll results. The confusion and indolence that gripped the party could be understood from the simple fact Siddiqui candidature was announced just a day ahead of the filing of nomination.
Nevertheless some academics feel that the Muslims and Yadavs keeping away from the RJD implied that they strive for a different kind of empowerment. The pasmanda Muslims are feeling completely let down. They nurse that all the benefits supposed to come to the Muslims have been grabbed by the rich and upper caste Muslims. They nurse the feeling that RJD under Tejashvi could not raise their voice in a strong manner. Muslim who needs protection is confident that their interest would be well protected by the NDA and Nitish Kumar. If these sources are to be believed the same sentiment prevailed over the Muslims and Yadavs in UP. He emphasised more on reservation issue than focussing on the issues played by Modi. His obsession towards his “ NitishChacha (uncle)” took more of his time and energy. Tejashvi’s wrong conception about the caste politics also alienated the Yadavs from RJD. He utterly failed to highlight right issues during his election campaigning. (IPA Service)