ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Which Way Bihar?

With both the JD(U)-BJP and the RJD-LJP now known for what they are, which way Bihar will go is anybody's guess.

Bihar’s elected representatives have had an important part to play in the national legislature for long. With the dis-integration of semi-feudal relations of production in agri-culture, and consequent economic ascendancy of some fractions of the “Other Backward Classes” (OBCs), it was a matter of time before the latter made rapid gains in the political and administrative realms. Now, given the legacy of “Mandal politics” in the state, self-styled poll pundits are no doubt busy looking at the various caste-and community-based alliances that the main political parties are forging in the hope of finding the “right” combination that will give them the opportunity to grab the loaves and fishes of office at the centre.

Like elsewhere, theOBCs in the state are composed of many fractions. The Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) led by Lalu Prasad has managed to keep the Yadavs within its fold, for Sharad Yadav is the more discredited. To his credit, the former has been consistently anti-Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Muslims know this only too well, so he can count on their support. The Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) led by Ram Vilas Paswan, the self-styled dalit leader, claims the scheduled castes as constituting its social base, but Paswan is known to have made all kinds of opportunistic moves in the past, including endorsement of the Bhumihar landlord-dominated Ranbir Sena. The Janata Dal (United), led by Nitish Kumar in the state, claims the backing of the Kurmis and the Koeris, while, its ally, the BJP, is seen as the party of the upper castes. The rise of the aforementioned parties in the state has coin-cided with the historical decline of the Congress Party, which Lalu Prasad has now disparaged as a near irrelevant force in the state.

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