At 4 am, after the tightest election of his life, Nitish Kumar phoned Sushil Kumar Modi who had served as his Deputy Chief Minister. “Hum log aa gaye hain,” he mentioned to the BJP chief. After an all-nighter of counting votes, their alliance lastly had emerged because the winner in Bihar after being all shook up by Tejashwi Yadav, all of 31 years previous.
The end result was an entire deviation from what the exit polls on Saturday had predicted – luxurious victory for Tejashwi Yadav, who, together with his helicopter, carried out about 250 rallies by his marketing campaign, practically one in each constituency of the massive state. It was his intuitive announcement of offering 10 lakh authorities jobs that supercharged him into seemingly pole place. Battered by the financial devastation of Coronavirus and a stalling of growth in Bihar, what the youth needed greater than the rest was jobs. The BJP first tore Tejashwi Yadav’s dedication aside, claiming it could depart the state broke. Then, when it realised he was onto one thing, they mentioned they would supply 19 lakh jobs, practically double of what he had headlined in his gross sales pitch.
So how did the BJP-Nitish Kumar alliance scramble out of their bind? On your columnist, there are two massive winners and two equally massive losers whose tales are intertwined. Let me clarify why.
Tejashwi Yadav now leads the single-largest celebration in Bihar. Runner-up is the BJP, only one seat behind. That is how shut the entire thing was. Tejashwi Yadav definitely did not have all of it laid out for him. His father, Lalu Yadav, synonomous with corruption and “jungle raj” within the state is in jail. His household is fractious. He did not have the kind of to-the-max funding that the BJP can rely on.
However he turned his marketing campaign into an immersive expertise, solely on the premise of his charisma and his dedication to handle audiences in each a part of the state. The crowds had been magnificent in dimension. In an interview with NDTV aboard his chopper, he wiped his face repeatedly as he moved between two massive rallies, professing that his 19 rallies a day outdid his father’s report of 16.
Tejashwi Yadav, until now, had been a lacklustre politician, exhibiting all of the encumbrances of a political inheritor. Although his speeches and join with voters have all the time been his energy, as Deputy Chief Minister to Nitish Kumar (their authorities collapsed in 2017), he got here throughout as entitled and irresponsible, usually lacking essential conferences and failing to make any kind of mark on the insurance policies or actions being applied. He was 26 on the time.
This election has delivered him as the primary mass chief of the following technology of politicians. His shrewd technique of by no means referring to his father in his speeches or permitting his pictures on publicity materials signifies stable instincts. A lot will rely now of whether or not he can muster the dedication to function a devoted opposition chief.
The tantalising prospect of serving because the younger Chief Minister of Bihar and the third member of his household to take that workplace was neutralised closely by his ally, Rahul Gandhi, who drove a tough discount. The Congress contested 70 seats however gained solely 19. But once more, the Congress has exercised its function because the weakest hyperlink, proving not simply ineffectual however harmful for any coalition that it is part of. Tejashwi Yadav was reluctant to concede so many seats to Rahul Gandhi however was nudged by Lalu.
In his speeches, Tejashwi Yadav stayed on message emphasising solely jobs, jobs, jobs. He additionally sidestepped scorching button Hindutva points and private assaults on his household made by an uncharacteristically flappable Nitish Kumar. In distinction, Rahul Gandhi, whereas addressing conferences, targeted on private assaults on Prime Minister Narendra Modi which have now been established as dangerous, given the PM’s lavish recognition.
Narendra Modi is the opposite massive winner at the price of massive loser Nitish Kumar. The BJP has for the primary time emerged because the chief of its alliance with Nitish Kumar. If he serves once more as Chief Minister (senior BJP leaders like Amit Shah have assured this), will probably be at Narendra Modi and Amit Shah’s pleasure. The BJP completed with 74 seats and the JDU with 43. The PM’s unattenuated enchantment within the face of Coronavirus and an economic system with a mega case of the blahs deserves a thesis. He hoovered up help throughout the state for his celebration. Nitish Kumar, alternatively, was tethered to anti-incumbency, mismanagement of the migrants disaster and the notion that his honored emphasis on growth has misplaced its approach.
The “double engine” declare of Narendra Modi and Nitish Kumar is exaggerated. The centre below Narendra Modi is the engine and Nitish Kumar is now only a bogey being tugged alongside by Narendra Modi. Nitish Kumar has been claiming that he’ll get a greater monetary deal for Bihar from the centre. The jury remains to be out on that. Nitish Kumar, who has an enormous sense of entitlement and ego, and a historical past of red-hot battle with Narendra Modi, has been decreased to bonsai stature.
PostScript: Chirag Paswan, LJP chief, who claims to have Modi in his coronary heart as a neo Hanuman, stored his promise – he landed only one seat however stored Nitish Kumar’s celebration out of many, delivering his finish of a (barely) secret covenant. A comfort prize is coming his approach from the celebration that masterminded his strikes.
(Swati Chaturvedi is an writer and a journalist who has labored with The Indian Specific, The Statesman and The Hindustan Occasions.)
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