Patna: Simply put, there is a combination of aggression, elation, hope, anger, disappointment, and insecurity depicts the Bihar mood, 30 days after Nitish Kumar took oath as chief minister, in a new avatar, with the BJP.
Nitish got rid of the Grand Alliance that trounced the BJP two years back and returned to the old field after 15 days of tensions regarding graft allegations against RJD chief Lalu Prasad and his son.
“The realignment in Patna has catalysed a new round of social churning on the ground. On the one hand, the coalition of extremes – of upper castes and backwards – represented by the BJP-Nitish combine is back. On the other, the old social base of Lalu Prasad – of Muslims and Yadavs – is stronger than before,” pointed out prominent social scientist, Saibal Gupta. This is most visible on the ground.
And experts have no doubt in accepting the fact that if there is one constituency which is the most elated, and the most aggressive, it is the upper-castes.
Take an example of Buxar bazaar, Narayan Upadhyay runs a shop selling construction material. A Brahmin, he voted for BJP in the 2014 and 2015 elections, and says, “Bihar slipped in the last two years. We remember the dark days of Lalu’s rule. RJD cadre bully their way around, the administration is helpless, and Lalu is corrupt.”
Nitish, he argued, had made a mistake in breaking with BJP – and was correcting that mistake.
On the other side of the coin, Angad Rai is a Rajput farmer in Chillhari village. Sitting on his tractor on the Buxar-Bhojpur road, he says, “After Nitish-Lalu alliance, these backwards had become too big. This will show them their aukad (standing). We are back in power.”
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The other end of this alliance is represented by those like Tapeshwar Singh, an auto mechanic in Muzaffarpur district.
A Kuswaha, which is among the backward castes, he says, “Nitish did the right thing. He and Lalu were pulling the government in different directions. Under Lalu, Yadavs become too dominant. We will get more space in this government.” An old voter of Nitish Kumar, Singh had shifted to BJP in the last election.