What makes the Bihar results critical

Prime Minister Narendra Modi in conversation with Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar during the launch of number of government schemes at Veterinary ground in Patna on Saturday. UNI PHOTO-41U

The results of the high-stakes Bihar poll battle will make or mar political careers. Forces and personalities who have dominated the political scene in the state over decades may walk into the sunset or they may find a source of political rejuvenation. The national politics may also witness a realignment of political forces against the current dispensation. Here’s what could be in store for all the major characters in the Bihar drama.

Lalu Prasad Yadav

He is sharp, he is politically astute and he manages 20 percent of the vote share with some consistency, but for some reason Lalu Prasad Yadav remains a highly underrated politician. Political experts say the media love to write him off and tend to treat him with some disdain, but his political opponents know he is much more than the silly sound bytes he comes up with. Whatever happens in Bihar, he will still remain a force to reckon with.

What if his Mahagathbandhan wins:

1. He gets the controlling stake in the government even though Nitish Kumar stays at the helm. He is expected to remote control the government.

2. His family members get rehabilitated in the government and may emerge as a rival power centre to Nitish.

3. He makes another bid for a coalition of regional forces to take on the BJP led by Narendra Modi.

What if it loses:

1. It will be just another bad day in office. He will take the blow on the chin and prepare for another fight. The RJD will still rally around him.

2. The RJD disintegrates because he won’t be seen as a bankable leader anymore. Many legislators may choose to defect at the opportune moment. This is a distinct possibility in case of a hung verdict.

3. His equation with Nitish heads south as they don’t need each other any more. He is most likely to be seen as the reason behind the defeat.

Nitish Kumar

The Chanakya of Bihar’s politics, as he is often called, Nitish Kumar may be fighting the toughest battle of his four-decade long political career. He went into the election with several pluses, the biggest being there was no anti-incumbency build-up against him. People made no secret of their admiration for him as a capable administrator with innovative ideas. He also carries no corruption taint. The high-stakes battle, which ever way it goes, will impact him the most

If the Mahagathbandhan wins:

1. His aura grows and he becomes a potential challenger to Narendra Modi at the national level.

2. He becomes the rallying point for regional forces, even the Congress, and begins the long preparation for the 2019 general elections.

3. He may keep himself to Bihar, given the experience of the futility of earlier experiments with national front of disparate forces and the difficulty of managing an overbearing Lalu.

What if it loses:

1. It would be a massive setback, from which a political comeback may be impossible.

2. His JD(U) may disintegrate with legislators trying to find their own ways to survive.

3. The possibility of a challenge to Narendra Modi at the centre ends.

Rahul Gandhi

Rahul Gandhi, whose party is a junior partner in the Grand Alliance, does not have much at stake in Bihar. The party is virtually dead in the state and any which way the result goes it won’t make a difference. But still the results matter to him at a personal level.

If the Mahagathbandhan wins:

1. Rahul is likely to gain some credibility as a leader and it would facilitate his quick elevation as the Congress president.

2. He will try to reach out to regional players and forge a national alliance against Modi with the Congress at the head.

3. He will cede space to regional players at the national level and concentrate on states where the Congress is in direct contest with the BJP.

If it loses:

1. The Congress circles again begin questioning his leadership skills and start demanding Priyanka at the helm.

2. He tries again to build the party from scratch in Bihar, which was getting difficult because of the powerful presence of RJD and JD(U). It would, in a way, give him more freedom to operate in the state.

Narendra Modi:

Narendra Modi versus the rest – that in essence is the story of Bihar Assembly polls 2015. It’s ironic that a person whose presence in the state was not acceptable to some not long ago would have an overwhelming presence in the polls and threaten to upset all old political equations. The extent of his appeal among the masses would define the political course the state takes after the elections. As the mascot of the NDA alliance, he has left nothing to chance.

If the Mahagathbadhan wins:

1. Life becomes difficult for him at the centre with a re-alignment of political parties taking place.

2. His policies become open to questions and his silence on the fringe groups come into question too.

3. With a rejuvenated opposition around, it becomes difficult for him to clear important pending bills. The consequence may be felt on the economy.

If it loses:

1. The aura of invincibility around him remains. And he emerges a stronger leader.

2. He will have virtually no challenger to his position in 2019.

3. The debate around the battle of economic models stop. With his emerging as the clear winner.

Krishna Kumar
The state of Bihar has given a lot to the history of humanity but in recent past we had given child labour, women harresment, theft, murder and corruption. I am here to raise the voice.!

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