The Bihar Post

How ‘Modi magic’ may not work in politically-conscious Bihar in 2019 LS polls

Narendra Modi wave is missing in Bihar in 2019 Lok sabha polls in Bihar


PATNA: Will Narendra Modi magic work in Bihar this time again? This has become a hot topic of discussion in the political circles as the seven-phase polling is slowly reaching to an end. Five phases of polling are already over now and thus the people have begun analyisng the voting pattern.

Right since the Samajwadi Party (SP) headed by Akhilesh Yadav entered into an alliance with Mayawati-led Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) to form a Mahagathbandhan (Grand Alliance) in Uttar Pradesh, Narendra Modi has shifted his focus to Bihar. He has continued launching intensive campaigns in Bihar hoping to make some electoral gains in a bid to make up the possible seat losses to be caused by the SP-BSP alliance in UP where the BJP won as many as 71 seats in the last 2014 Lok Sabha polls.

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PM Modi has, so far, held at least nine election rallies in various pockets of Bihar, such as Gaya, Jamui, Bhagalpur, Araria, Darbhanga, Muzaffarpur and West Champaran while a few rallies are scheduled in the remaining two phases. His extra focus on Bihar, thus, very much explains the nervousness in the BJP camp but many say his intensive campaign may not work this time since there is very low level of enthusiasm among the general masses due PM Modi’s “past track record” in fulfilling his poll commitments and his fast falling popularity.

They say the PM never even mentioned in his speeches about issue of special category status Bihar has been demanding for long and he himself had given the public commitment to fulfill this demand. Likewise, he has been silent on bringing back black money—the issue that he repeatedly raised in his past campaign, promising “achche din” to the voters.

But leave aside the old days and come to the current situation. The general voters are hugely angry, annoyed and frustrated over the way Modi has focused his speeches on “non-issues” such as Vande Matram, Namdaar and Nuclear Bomb in a bid to diplomatically shift his attention from the “unfulfilled promises”. However, there are at least three issues that may work against BJP and the NDA, experts opine.

Vande Matram: The usual chanting of such slogans at his election rallies has annoyed the general masses who normally turn up at his rallies perhaps hoping to know about the government vision. Let aside the general masses, even his own allies are not happy with that. Especially the JD-U headed by chief minister Nitish Kumar has said his party agenda is to ensure victory of the NDA candidate and not chanting Vande Matram.

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Mahamilawati:  Modi and his colleagues have repeatedly been calling the opposition allies as “mahamilawati” (highly adulterated) but very strangely, the NDA itself comprises over 40 parties. The general masses are now asking as to who has given Modi the right to call his rivals “mahamilawati” while he himself is leading the alliance with over three dozen parties. Moreover, it is the people who have to choose which party or alliance are right and wrong.

Lantern: Instead of revealing what will be the vision of his own government, the PM has been hitting out at the poll symbol of the main opposition RJD and telling the masses that there is no need for ‘lantern’ in the state. The question being asked by the masses is that how can he reject the relevance of the rival parties. In that sense, there is no need for “arrow” (poll symbol of JD-U) as well in today times since it symbolizes violence. “These all are non-sense talks,” voters say.

Experts too say that there is no “Modi magic” and “Modi wave” like situation this time. In their support, they cite the existing poll percentage in Bihar recorded this time. As per the report of the Election Commission, the poll percentage in Bihar has remained at 56.79 in Bihar so far, that is similar to the poll percentage recorded in 2014 when it was 56 percent. In 2009 LS polls, the poll percentage was only 45 percent.

“That means there is no wave in Bihar this time. In other words, the kind of enthusiasm seen among the masses last time is totally missing now. This will obviously work against the BJP,” said a political expert.

Moreover, Bihar is an entirely different state in the whole of India and has been known for taking different stand as compared to other states in the country. This can be understood from the fact that while Modi maintained its winning streak at the height of his popularity and captured states like Haryana, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Goa, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh and Assam at one point of time, Bihar halted his victory rath in 2015. The BJP and the NDA had failed to perform even though Modi had addressed as many as 30 election rallies in Bihar—perhaps the highest by any Prime Minister in a state elections.

The situation is more or the less the same this time. The only difference is that chief minister Nitish Kumar who headed the campaign against Modi has now joined the BJP camp and seeking votes for the latter but the masses are smarter than leaders.

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