As the two major coalitions in the Bihar Vidhan Sabha election contest continue to prophesy a clear victory for themselves, we will know in a week the people’s verdict. In the meantime, predictably, the electoral battle has hinged broadly on three factors: (a) How the Mahadalits and the Extremely Backward Castes (EBCs) have voted? (b) Which way the majority of women has tilted? and (c) Whether or not the Prime Minister has retained his appeal to the younger aspirational generation.
At time when people are changing their Facebook profile to support the Digital India programme with the vision to transform India into a digitally empowered society and knowledge economy, I write in intense grief that witch-hunt still exists in Indian society.
On Monday, October 19, in a general election, the Canadian voters threw out Stephen Harper, the Conservative Party Prime Minister for two terms (nine years). According to the majority of Canadians, Stephen Harper, going into his second term, had become very overbearing. He enforced his conservative policies, slashed down social services programs, favored wealthy to become more rich, denied environmental problems and suppressed dissent not only from the academic or scientific community but also within his own party.
A number of writers in India have recently returned their Sahitya Akademi (National Academy of Letters) awards in protest of government silence on violence.
An estimated mob of 200 Hindus recently lynched a 50-year-old Muslim worker Mohammad Akhlaq for presumably eating beef at his home in Dadri, a small village near Indian capital New Delhi. They also severely injured his son Danish.
"All politics is local," Tip O'Neill, the former U.S. Speaker of the House of Representatives, is reputed to have once observed.
In the context of the ongoing Bihar Vidhan Sabha election also, the politics depends on what the pulls and pressures are in each constituency. From a distance, it’s difficult to gauge the public mood and therefore the voting trend. Even the reporters on the ground send mixed signals.
India has never been a communal and theocratic country. Unity in cultural and religious diversity has always been the essence of our political system. The Jinx as beef reminds us again that the onetime British Raj used it to divide and confuse people.
In the closing hours of the campaign, it seems both sides (the NDA and the Grand Alliance) are desperately engaged in propaganda war. There are very little to educate and more to arouse the voters.
Communication Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad in the Modi administration recently told the nation that the government has decided to discontinue the stamps of former Prime Ministers Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi stating that “[P]ostage stamps should honour leading lights of the nation and not members of one family.”
In less than a week Bihar embarks upon electing its Vidhan Sabha legislators who will be the custodians of the state’s fate for the next five years. The Yadavs, with their 14% share in the electorate, are the most coveted constituency for any political party or alliance. Together with the Muslims, it is claimed; they can again write the horoscope of Bihar. Politicians and pundits all emphasize the intrinsic socio-political strength of this caste that belongs to the Other Backward Caste (OBCs) category.