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

A+| A| A-

Nitish Kumar's Triumph

An improved administration with a selective use of identity helps the ruling coalition triumph in Bihar

In what must be described as an expected result, the Nitish Kumar-led Janata Dal (United)-Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) coalition has come up trumps in the Bihar state assembly elections. The coalition has not just won. By achieving a threefourths majority in the assembly, it has nearly annihilated the opposition comprising the Lalu Prasad-led Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) and Ram Vilas Paswan-led Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) alliance and the Congress Party. The outcome repeats the Lok Sabha election results in 2009. The reasons for the strong victory in the assembly elections are the same as in the Lok Sabha polls – a very positive perception about the JD(U)-BJP government’s public works programme and the quality of state admini stration as also the ruling coalition’s very deft use of identity to shore up its base.

Most commentators have been quick to describe the election results as a vote for “development” and a turning away from the politics of identity. It is difficult to accept such easy descriptions since the JD(U)-BJP alliance had not shirked from identity politics; it had indeed worked hard to win over new sections from certain caste groups. The ruling coalition had organised “Mahadalit sammelans”, introduced reservations for backward sections among Muslims, targeted welfare measures at backward communities and announced a reservation of 50% seats for women in the local bodies.

Dear Reader,

To continue reading, become a subscriber.

Explore our attractive subscription offers.

Click here


To gain instant access to this article (download).

INR 59

(Readers in India)

$ 6

(Readers outside India)

Support Us

Your Support will ensure EPW’s financial viability and sustainability.

The EPW produces independent and public-spirited scholarship and analyses of contemporary affairs every week. EPW is one of the few publications that keep alive the spirit of intellectual inquiry in the Indian media.

Often described as a publication with a “social conscience,” EPW has never shied away from taking strong editorial positions. Our publication is free from political pressure, or commercial interests. Our editorial independence is our pride.

We rely on your support to continue the endeavour of highlighting the challenges faced by the disadvantaged, writings from the margins, and scholarship on the most pertinent issues that concern contemporary Indian society.

Every contribution is valuable for our future.