Democracy Definitely has a Hope in India
The result of Assembly elections of Bihar (2010) is out and I salute Biharis for having chosen developmental engineering over social engineering.
Bihar has a great history- world famous Nalanda university existed here since much before the birth of Christ, Pataliputra (today’s Patna) was the capital of our country during our golden ages, Boddh religion spread the world over from Pataliputra which was the kingdom of Ashoka Mahan and Bihar remained in the forefront of Indian independence struggle and gave us thinkers like Dr. Rajendra Prasad and Jayprakash Narayan.
Erstwhile Bihar (Bihar plus Jharkhand) was also endowed with highly fertile land and enormous natural resources. Yet, Bihar and Biharis had become a butt of joke throughout the country for being backward in outlook, casteist in politics, and supporters of self-seeking and criminally minded politicians. Particularly during ‘Lalu era’ of one and half decade, the situation of law and order and poverty of the masses had become so pathetic that even ardent supporters of Lalu Yadav had become thoroughly disillusioned with his kind of governance. Therefore, on the very first occasion they got an opportunity to vote freely in 2005, they voted out Lalu Yadav and voted in Nitish Kumar. At that time the victory of Nitish was seen as a negative vote of Lalu Yadav being cast in favor of Nitish Kumar. And this analysis had a sound basis because Nitish’s performance as a Chief Minister had never been tested before.
Lalu succeeded for three terms partly due to his social engineering of caste and communal politics known as MY (Muslim plus Yadav) politics which fed and fattened on the ill-effects of Mandal report and his election engineering through which he made the entire bureaucracy and police to sub-serve as his party agents. During 2005 the Election Commission devised ways and means to ensure free and fair election resulting in dethronement of Lalu Yadav and bringing in Nitish as C. M. on whom people pinned their hopes of a secure and respectable life and progress of the state. Nitish proved true to public’s aspirations and established rule of law and brought about tangible progress in infrastructure, health, education and employment. The Biharis watched the tremendous change brought about during the five years and, contrary to the expectations of political pundits, rose above the petty considerations of caste and communalism during recent elections. And even Lalu’s wife Rabri Devi, who is the former Chief Minister and had contested on two seats after employing all gadgets of social engineering, failed to win.
This election of Bihar has lit a ray of hope in the hearts of even the greatest pessimists about the success of Indian democracy. Even U. P.-walas, who have fallen in paralyzing despair about U. P.’s future, have started hoping of getting rid of Maya- Mulayam clutches. And why not? Given a choice, if Biharis can vote for peace and progress instead of caste and money, who would not.
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Mahesh Chandra Dewedy
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