Has the NDA snatched victory from the jaws of defeat? Until 12 midday, the opposition Mahagathbandhan led by Tejashwi Yadav was rejoicing. Spokespersons of Tejashwi Yadav’s RJD have been on Cloud 9 and their employees have been in a celebratory temper. The BJP and Nitish Kumar’s Janata Dal United (JDU) leaders have been very defensive and dejection colored the faces of their supporters. Nevertheless it all all of the sudden modified when the NDA raced forward and surpassed the opposition alliance.
Initially, RJD leaders performed it courageous, however by 5 pm, it was clear that the battle was misplaced and the social gathering’s desires of ruling once more after 15 years have been shattered. However one other twist was ready. By 8 pm, supporters of Tejashwi Yadav had another excuse to be hopeful.
The hole appeared to slender despite the fact that the NDA stayed forward. However lastly, the euphoria was short-lived. Tejashwi Yadav misplaced. He now has to attend for one more 5 years to dream once more.
However Tejashwi Yadav, regardless of the tragic failure, is the Man of the Second. Until a month in the past he was not taken severely. It was a walkover for the NDA. The arithmetic was easy. In Bihar, at any time when two of the three huge events have gotten collectively, they’ve gained and shaped the federal government.
Because the BJP and JDU have been contesting collectively, the RJD was left to contest with smaller events like Congress and Left events. Mathematically, the Mahagathbandhan was on the improper facet of historical past.
The opposition alliance was additionally handicapped by the absence of its tallest chief, Lalu Prasad Yadav, who’s serving time for corruption. The onus of main the coalition fell on his youthful son Tejashwi, 31. Political pundits weren’t prepared to offer him an opportunity.
All of it modified within the second week of October. Tejashwi’s rallies began grabbing headlines. His conferences have been full of enthusiastic supporters and plenty of noticed winds of change.
Because the marketing campaign progressed, three components have been seen on the bottom. One, it was unanimously reported that there was very robust anti-incumbency towards the NDA. Most surprisingly, Nitish Kumar, as soon as the darling of the lots who loved excessive approval scores within the 2010 and 2015 meeting elections, was seen as a disliked determine. Within the latest previous, no different chief minister had confronted a lot public anger. He all of the sudden grew to become a legal responsibility for the NDA.
Second, in distinction, Tejashwi struck many as the brand new political phenom. He was seen to be setting the agenda and the NDA got here off as confused and defensive. When Tejashwi introduced his promise of 10 lakh authorities jobs, it grew to become the speaking level of the marketing campaign. NDA leaders didn’t know how you can react.
BJP chief Sushil Kumar Modi mocked him. However the social gathering’s central leaders realised the gravity of the announcement and promised job alternatives for 19 lakh individuals in Bihar.
Tejashwi’s name for employment hit a chord with the individuals and adjusted the discourse of the election. He additionally confirmed uncommon braveness by delinking his marketing campaign from his much-maligned father. Lalu Prasad Yadav, the undisputed chief of Mandal politics, as soon as the messiah of the backward castes and the marginalised in Bihar, was a forgotten chief within the Bihar Elections. It was a troublesome name. It was an enormous gamble. This transfer might have angered RJD’s social base, the MY (Muslim and Yadav) mixture. Tejashwi’s concept was to blunt the NDA’s assaults on “Jungle Raj” – a reference to the excessive crime charge throughout 15 years of RJD rule. Tejashwi didn’t panic when he was known as “Jungle Raj ka Yuvraj” by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. He confirmed maturity past his years and it appeared to have paid off ultimately.
Third, the NDA alliance seemed fragile. Chirag Paswan’s LJP revolted and refused to simply accept Nitish Kumar because the chief of the NDA in Bihar. It was rumoured through the marketing campaign that the LJP was unleashed by the BJP to unsettle Nitish Kumar and injury the JDU within the election. Chirag Paswan declared in a rally that he’ll ship Nitish Kumar to jail if he shaped the federal government. It was additionally reported that there was no coordination on the bottom between the employees of the JDU and the BJP. Then again, regardless of the intrinsic weak point of the Mahagathbandhan, it remarkably seemed extra stable, disciplined and cohesive than the NDA.
The NDA marketing campaign, regardless of PM Modi’s rallies, was lacklustre. Tejashwi was extra aggressive and his success lay in the truth that he didn’t let Modi and Nitish Kumar set the agenda; slightly they have been reacting to his calls. This was exceptional for a younger chief. He was up towards two of the tallest leaders of up to date politics. He was not intimidated. He was not in awe of them. He was assertive, he was aggressive, he was conscious of his conduct, and he didn’t lose his cool even when he was bombarded with private assaults.
Tejashwi knew that to kind the federal government, he and his social gathering needed to unfold out. The standard social base of the RJD, Yadav and Muslim, couldn’t win him the state. To achieve out to new voters, he tried to dispel the notion that it was solely a celebration restricted to 2 social classes. He mentioned that the RJD was an A to Z social gathering. On this election, RJD was not Lalu’s social gathering; it tried to cross the Rubicon. The RJD tried to be MY Plus. Like PM Modi in 2014. Modi succeeded as a result of he was not solely Hindutva, however Hindutva Plus.
Tejashwi must be given credit score for reinventing the RJD and detaching it from its previous. The RJD, lengthy branded as a celebration of hoodlums and criminals, all of the sudden seemed like a celebration which was making an attempt to broadbase and transcend sectarianism, speaking about growth. It was a nice shock for political pundits. However was it sufficient to guide him to the Chief Minister’s chair? It was not, definitely, however within the absence of his father Lalu Yadav, Tejashwi saved the flag flying. He did lose however he fought until the tip.
He did lose however he fought valiantly and the following Chief Minister of Bihar has to be careful. Tejashwi is ready within the wings.
(Ashutosh is a Delhi-based writer and journalist.)
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