Bihar now has new Sarkar
On Tuesday, the Lalu Prasad Yadav-Rabri Devi era in Bihar, sustained for 15 years in the name of social justice, finally came to a resounding end. Riding the growing aspirations of caste groups at the lower end of the OBC spectrum, the Nitish Kumar-led NDA secured an absolute majority in the assembly. Final Tally | Will it make a difference? | PicsUpdated: Nov 27, 2005 19:37 IST
1, Anne Marg, Patna is getting a new resident. On Tuesday, the LaluPrasad Yadav-Rabri Devi era in Bihar, sustained for 15 years in the name of social justice, finally came to a resounding end.
Riding the growing aspirations of caste groups at the lower end of the OBC spectrum, theNitishKumar-led JD (U)-BJP combine (144 seats) secured an absolute majority in the assembly. The RJD-Congress alliance won 67 seats. Its Secular Democratic Front (SDF) allies — the NCP and the CPM — secured one seat each.
Ram Vilas Paswan, kingmaker post-February with the LJP's 29 seats tally, got
just 9 seats. Three went to its ally, the CPI. Others, including independents, won 20 seats.
The NDA's success cut across all caste groups and regions of Bihar, securing in the process the support of a significant section of the Muslim community. Only in Kishanganj district of eastern Bihar did the SDF seem to benefit decisively from the minority community's support.
Lalu, for once, was helpless in overcoming the anti-incumbency factor. The manner in which the RJD tried to woo the extremely backward castes showed he had read the mood for change. But he could do little about it. In an election contested on the issue of development, 'communalism' failed to click for the SDF as an election issue.
Kumar is set to take over as Chief Minister on Thursday.
What message he has for the BJP — now that the JD(U) has done well on its own — will become clear when it comes to government formation. For now, Kumar has said the JD(U)-BJP combine expects no problem in reaching consensus on a development agenda for Bihar. "We managed it successfully at the Centre despite having some ideological differences," he said.
Kumar remained his understated self in victory. Crediting the NDA's win to the people's yearning for change and better governance, he promised security, honour and development for all Biharis. He made it clear there would be no witch-hunt or vendetta against any group and sought Lalu's support in executing the development agenda in Bihar.
Lalu tried to put up a brave front in the face of the drubbing. After a long time, he again described Nitish as his brother and promised his support, while ruling out any support to the BJP.
Paswan said he felt vindicated by Lalu's defeat and blamed the SDF rout on Lalu's insistence on making Rabri Chief Minister. "I had repeatedly told Sonia Gandhi and the prime minister to name any Muslim as the UPA's Chief Ministerial nominee," he said. "But no one listened to me."
First Published: Nov 27, 2005 19:37 IST