Have a look of vote Share ! What is waiting in the fate of Bihar people by their state rulers? Sensitive

Have a look of vote Share ! What is waiting in the fate of Bihar people by their state rulers? Sensitive

This analysis is not for the politically sensitive & faint hearted. If one does not have thick skin, then they must never try to support any political party, and certainly not jump to quick conclusions based on what media headlines blare. Hundreds of channels will show thousands of views & opinions on why they think this was a “major blow to Modi”, by blaming everything from reservations to dal to cows and what not. All those might have played some role, but the root cause behind BJP’s apparent “failure” lies somewhere else.

To begin with, I would first like to congratulate Shri Lalu Prasad Yadav for his perseverance and dedication in winning the hearts of Bihar and efficiently converting his votes into seats. I would like to appreciate the people of Bihar for casting their votes and I respect the mandate of the people.

Now, let’s come to the core issue at hand here. The real beauty of our democracy is that we can have multiple parties and since each party would be based on certain ideology, an election in its generic form is a battle between ideologies. When a party manages to cross the halfway mark single handedly, it wins and forms the Govt. But when no party crosses that mark, then the one which has got the maximum seats usually tries to convince one or more parties to work out common ideology (common minimum programme or agenda) to form a coalition and form the Govt.

However, there can be instances where parties which are not confident of winning single handedly, might form pre-poll alliance with other parties based on some common agenda. In some cases, that agenda can be to uplift depressed classes, and in some cases, it might be to build a temple, and in some cases, to develop infrastructure, and so on. But here comes a psychological factor. Due to fear of getting obscure, especially when there is a very strong contender, some parties might form pre-poll alliances with just a single agenda: “To defeat that strong contender”.

Yes, it sounds funny, but is actually very common especially in India. Recollect the case of Janata Party, which was a grand alliance of all parties which wanted to defeat Indira Gandhi in the 1970s. How about the Third Front in late 1980s headed by VP Singh? Or the United Front in mid 1990s by HD Deve Gowda? What was their modus operandi? Just to form a huddle so they can actually keep a deserving party (with majority votes) out of power.

Pramod Mahajan had explained it very well in Parliament. Here is that video clip:


Anyway, what really happens once they win by hook or crook? They have no idea. Their only agenda was to defeat a certain rival party, but once they come to power, they have no idea of what they want to do and even if they know, they do not know how to. One does not need common sense to realize that such coalitions (ghatbandhans) based on “anti-some_leader” agenda are not sustainable due to conflicting ideologies, constant tussles, armtwisting and lack of solid vision. The Janata party of the 1970s broke down in just 3 years, while the Third Front collapsed within 2 years & United Front had to change 2 Prime Ministers within 2 years (HD Deve Gowda & IK Gujaral) before they succumbed to political bickering & internal conflicts even before they could complete 2 years.

Let’s now come back to 2015 Bihar election. Most of the news channels would be celebrating BJP’s defeat and might be giving their own versions & interpretations like “Bihar rejects communal politics”, “Modi’s charisma fading” etc, but the statistics say that BJP managed to increase its voteshare from 16.5% to around 25%, which I think is a commendable achievement and the BJP election campaign team headed by Amit Shah deserves credit at least for this reason if not anything else. The only room for improvement is that he could have been more efficient in turning voteshare into seats, but even if he had achieved that, BJP would not have won, just because of the sole reason that all other parties were in a huddle with the only agenda being “anti-BJP/anti-Modi”.

This was the same problem faced by BJP in 2004 when they lost miserably. The media gave a spicy narrative that it was due to backfiring of “India Shining” campaign, but the reality was that BJP had got almost same voteshare as that of Congress but failed to efficiently convert votes into seats. I had explained it in detail in my earlier analysis titled “The untold story of how BJP lost 2004 elections” here:

As I was saying earlier, politics requires thick skin, and one with political thick skin would agree that each term (election) is like a single lap of a lambi (long) race. Seats come and go, Govts form & fall, but it is finally the political penetration and party’s organic growth that really matters. Irrespective of who forms the Govt, the fact now remains that BJP managed to convince more Bihar voters, than what Nitish or Lalu could convince. And this is an important factor, because as we can see from the statistics, the voteshares of RJD & JD(U) have actually dropped, and this trend would continue over time, with BJP getting stronger & bigger.

Now, talking about BJP supporters on social media, I understand that many are disappointed, but I think they must must refrain from pointing any finger at the voters because as the statistics show, the number of Bihar voters choosing BJP has increased from 16% in 2010 to 25% this year. Pointing any finger at BJP strategic team is also of no use because there is nothing much one can do in a democracy in a situation where everyone allies with everyone else, with the sole agenda of defeating someone. And about the comments on reservations, cow ads etc? It is laughable to think that such stray comments can change election results. In Assembly elections, people vote for local leaders (based on caste especially in complicated states like Bihar), and to an extent, to the “age-old” affiliations/loyalty they might have with the party. Just some statement here and there would not change things overnight. If they did, then Rajiv Gandhi would have never become PM with thumping majority in a peace loving country, when he justified the Sikh massacres with his statement “When a big tree falls, the earth shakes”. Even if such irrelevant statements have any effect, it would be very very insignificant.

Coming back to the official seat tally, there is no doubt that the Mahaghatbandhan will easily be able to form a Govt. But with conflicting ideologies and possibility of arm-twisting & internal sabotage, will this coalition formed just on the basis of “anti-something” also collapse soon? Well, we will soon find it out. If they can successfully avoid internal conflicts, they would still find it difficult to govern due to an incoherent amalgamation of visions (if any), thereby putting Bihar itself at the risk of witnessing another term of slow growth or even the possibility of civil wars due to frustration of public. If they budge due to internal conflicts, then Bihar might witness an early election in 2 years, which again would be a burden on Bihar because it would have not only lost 2 years of progress but must prepare itself for another round of election which incurs huge expenditure, time & energy.

To summarize, I would say that the BJP team has worked very hard to emerge as the largest party in Bihar in terms of voteshare, but could not efficiently convert them into votes, and even if they had managed to convert efficiently, they would have fallen behind because as with any democratic system, when one is faced with a situation of several parties forming a coalition with the sole intention of defeating a certain party, there is nothing much one can do, but just witness the dance of democracy and watch how events unfold over next few months. And this exactly is the apparent “failure” of BJP because no matter how strong or clean or secular or committed they are, when all the “anti-BJP” forces combine together, there is nothing BJP can do, unless people realize that such coalitions, ghatbhandhans, third fronts, united fronts, fourth fronts etc are detrimental, or unless BJP itself manages to take 45-50% voteshare, which will take more time to reach there (next 8-15 years).

Having said that, I agree that BJP’s loss in Bihar today would change several perceptions and might affect our economy in the short term (stock markets, industrial expansions, investments etc) and might boost the morale of opposition parties for next few months. I hope the economy which had almost come to a standstill in the last 1-2 months speculating over Bihar elections, gets over this soon, remains optimistic and recovers by end of this year so that India can gear up for an aggressive 2016 with ambitious initiatives like “Make in India” & “Digital India” making significant inroads into every corner of India.


Guru Prasad

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