Nitish Kumar became the first person to be elected as the Chief Minister of Bihar for a third consecutive term, after his Grand Alliance with RJD and Congress defeated Modi’s NDA to acquire 178 seats in the Bihar elections.
This historic win has highlighted an aspect of Bihar that Modi had failed to acknowledge in his campaign strategy. Modi’s communal politics failed miserably and was overshadowed by Nitin Kumar’s rational and straightforward developmental approach. Nitish Kumar managed to undermine Modi’s “Jungle Raj” remarks by maintaining decency and simplicity in his campaign, which ultimately turned the tables in his favor.
Nitish Kumar’s win can be attributed to several factors including his previous performance in improving the developmental infrastructure in the state and because of being more connected with the people than Modi, whom Biharis call an outsider. With Nitish Kumar, the people know exactly what they are getting, but a year under Modi has already disillusioned them from his charismatic influence.
Another major factor believed to be responsible for Kumar’s win is the surprising support for Lalu Prasad Yadav. Yadav’s RJD won 80 seats in Bihar, the largest won by any single party. Even the staunchest supporters of BJP in the constituencies of Bhojpur, Tirhut and Champaran deserted the party, majority of them favoring Lalu and Kumar.
Perhaps it is time for Mr Modi to come down his self-imposed pedestal and realize that it is going to take more than just charisma to hold on to his seat at the Centre. If the voting turnout in this historic election is any indication, Indian voters are becoming more involved in politics than ever before and for every voter fooled by the empty communal banter of self-serving politicians, there is at least one another with more practical approach to election.