Jharkhand results project trouble for Bihar's grand alliance of Cong, RJD, JD(U)

  • Mammen Matthew, Hindustan Times, Patna
  • Updated: Dec 23, 2014 22:09 IST

The BJP sweep in Jharkhand cannot but raise serious fears of the political future of the JD(U) and the RJD in Bihar.

The BJP in Bihar during LS polls, struck up the right tenor and picked the most useful ally for the assembly elections in Jharkhand.

With its pro-development stance and cultivating the powerful Mahato caste, partly represented by Sudesh Mahato of AJSU, it provided for a wider social construct in sync with regional political realities to make a majority.

While the JD(U) has post Lok Sabha results in Bihar gone ahead to re-join the Janata Parivar of the 1990s with the hope that the Grand Alliance, which won six of 10 bypoll seats, would assure a majority in 2015, there is the fear that by July 2015 the scenario could get much muddier.

The Jharkhand result is likely to encourage large scale desertions, while stoking intra-party group rivalries and dissensions within both the JD(U) and the RJD.

The fact that the Grand Alliance in Jharkhand comprising the Congress, RJD and JD(U) lost 17 seats with a 13% dip in vote share, is all the more disturbing. They and the JMM could have lost more, but for the conversion controversy that hit late in the campaign and worked particularly to JMM's advantage and whittled down the BJP from a probable 50+ seat walloping it could have given its Opposition.

While, the BJP has 'swept' to power with 41 of the 81 seats in Jharkhand, such a complete political majority so close to Bihar will only lift it's zing to be too inconvenient to the Grand Alliance, poised for polls in Bihar next year. BJP president Amit Shah warned that the campaign for Bihar was well on track and the Janata Parivar would be routed next year.

For once, Jharkhand, which has seen nine chief ministers and two President rules within a short span of 14 years since its creation, seems headed for complete stability and on course to fulfil the promise of rapid change with the huge potential that it has.

That future picture would also stand in contrast to the political mess, which, post NDA split and Nitish Kumar's abdication seven months ago, has put Bihar into.

If JD(U) leaders here see a silver lining in the results, it is that the combined opposition has won close to half the seats and retrieved some from the teeth of the BJP's Lok Sabha polls success, the saffron win posting close to 40% votes and 25 seats over its last assembly tally takes off the shine from that argument too.

In Bihar, however, JD(U) and RJD leaders appeared to take some comfort from the fact that the caste bases here are 'much more disparate' and 'numerous' compared to Jharkhand and hence, they would not be as amenable to any one party.

However, despite the disparate castes that Bihar has conceived, the Narendra Modi wave had swept by cutting into them during the LS polls, leaving the alliance just nine seats in the Lok Sabha -- four to RJD, two each to JD(U) and Congress and one to the NCP.

Union telecom minister Ravishankar Prasad on Tuesday wondered whether there was any Janata Parivar left, even as JD(U) leader Nitish Kumar credited the BJP win due to the break in alliance with the JMM, while adding, "The seats of the BJP has come down from the Lok Sabha polls". Congress spokesperson Rajiv Shukla blamed the Jharkhand whitewash to 'wrong selection of allies'.

But then, the Jharkhand political pointers remain as disturbing for Bihar since the Grand Alliance has a soft underbelly too, now more open to criticism for the RJD-JD(U) union, despite the cross purposes either of the parties have worked at. Their togetherness of today, outwardly, seems prominently a sign of political desperation to most.

The lack of a common ground in Jharkhand, where the RJD and JD(U) could not combine on 10 seats with the Congress, also put paid their hopes. In the event, the RJD lost two seats and JD(U) lost another two to be erased from the Jharkhand political profile.

The same set of problems promise to rear their head in Bihar when the seat sharing issue comes up, even before the two parties reconcile themselves to 'walkovers' and 'desertions' to the BJP, LJP and even Rashtriya Loktantrik Samta Party (RLSY), before the next elections are up.

Bihar caste arithmetic wise, it would seem that some fight is left in the 'GA', though going by last LS results, a turnaround in its fortunes would seem to be a tougher ask, as of now, and going into 2015 assembly elections.

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