Would the Secular Parties Learn Any Lesson Now? by Dr. Mohammad Manzoor Alam (DECEMBER 01, 2010)
Dr Mohammad Manzoor Alam reflects on the results of the recently concluded Bihar Assembly Elections.
In politics, it is not important to work, but to be seen working. Over the last five years Nitish Kumar had not only been working for the “development” of Bihar, but had been seen working all these years. He has been richly rewarded for that.
Contrast that to Lalu Yadav’s RJD and Ramvilas Paswan’s LJP. Lalu had acquired the image of somebody who was averse to development and good governance. To be fair, image does not always represent substance, and the development narrative of Bihar has its own serious flaws.
As far as LJP is concerned, it has become a spent force in Bihar and has no presence anywhere else. Extreme nepotism and unprincipled conduct has mortally wounded it.
That leaves us with the ill-fated Congress Party. Its shoddy political strategy led to the rout of the secular front and the rise of Nitish with his BJP ally. The division of secular vote, largely the handiwork of Congress, also led to the unexpected rise of BJP. The Congress Party’s haphazard ticket allocation also took its toll.
Whatever the short-term benefits of JDU-BJP rise in Bihar, there are clear indications of the Sangh spreading its tentacles in public life across the state, a trend that is as omenous as BJP rule in Gujarat.
For the minorities, the culprits are the so-called secular leaders, whose sins of omission and commission have brought the state to this sorry pass.
A clear drift was visible in Muslim vote patterns this time. The Muslim voter did not seem convinced with the Congress credentials, nor with the governance style of Lalu Prasad. Paswan had lost the support of his traditional voters.
The Congress Party’s antics like Sachar Committee seemed more like lip service as no real benefit had accrued to the Muslims, despite the hype. Also, the Batla House encounter, seen as fake by the rest of the society, and certified as genuine by the UPA government, swayed the Muslim vote away from it.
The last nail in the Congress coffin was driven by the Allahabad High Court judgment on Ayodhya. It was seen as a manipulation by the Congress Party.
Muslims, not only in Bihar but everywhere else, look at the Ayodhya dispute as the creation of the Congress Party. Their argument is simple: idols were placed in the Babri Masjid under Congress rule; puja was allowed and namaz banned under Congress rule; the mosque was locked under Congress rule; the lock was opened and puja allowed (while the ban on namaz continued) under Congress rule; the mosque was demolished under Congress government supervision at the Centre, and Muslims massacred and jaild under Congress sponsorship.
Naturally, with such negative vibes the “secular parties had no chance.