Can Rahul put party on a revival trail in Bihar?
On the 80 km stretch of highway between Chapra and Gopalganj, north west of Patna, every tree is covered with banners and buntings of various political parties and the names of prospective (self-proclaimed) candidates. Mammen Matthew reports. SWOT analysisindia Updated: Sep 08, 2010 01:25 IST
On the 80 km stretch of highway between Chapra and Gopalganj, north west of Patna, every tree is covered with banners and buntings of various political parties and the names of prospective (self-proclaimed) candidates.
What's most noticeable is the number of Congress flags along this stretch. They clearly outnumber those of the Lalu Prasad-Ram Vilas Paswan combine and even the ruling NDA.
"The wind has changed directions a wee bit," says Raj Singh, 51, a prosperous farmer near Taraiya, 40 km north of Chapra.
To his mind, the flags denote the new-found interest in the Congress —and the feeling that after two decades in the wilderness, the party again stands a fighting chance in the state.
Interestingly, most of these self-proclaimed Congress candidates are young — a pointer that Congress general secretary and youth icon Rahul Gandhi's promise of pitching for the youth has worked.
Despite this — and Rahul Gandhi's efforts — the odds of the Congress recreating its pre-1985 magic, when it was the dominant party in the state, look stiff.
But the confused leadership in the state, and almost total lack of comprehension about caste equations in the post-Mandal phase blew away the Congress's core dalit, Muslim and EBC vote bank, leaving only a few (mostly baseless upper caste) leaders in its ranks.
What could help the Congress is the upper caste swing towards it.