Senior Journalists debunk Modi wave in Bihar based on ground reports

Lalu's revival in Bihar is landing severe blows to the so-called Modi wave
Lalu’s revival in Bihar is landing severe blows to the so-called Modi wave

Lalu Prasad Yadav had stopped LK Advani during his rath yatra in 1990. Advani was arrested on October 23, 1990 at Samastipur in Bihar by the then government of Lalu Prasad. BJP patriarch was on his way to Ayodhya from Somnath via central India to garner support for the Ayodhya temple. Lalu Prasad Yadav never fails to remind the media of his role in fighting the communal forces in India. Lalu recently said:

Maine hi Advani ka rath roka tha, main hi Modi ko rokunga (It was I who had stopped L K Advani’s rath, it is I who will stop Narendra Modi.

Meanwhile, major media channels like NDTV, CNN-IBN, Headlines Today who have run multiple opinion polls before the elections have shown Bihar to be one of the states where BJP has gained massively besides Uttar Pradesh since the 2009 Elections. According to the opinion polls, BJP’s predicted success in Bihar along with Uttar Pradesh are going to be the crucial in the overall numbers game and will determine the ascend of Narendra Modi towards country’s topmost job. However, two Senior Journalists, Shankarshan Thakur and Prashant Jha who have been travelling extensively in Bihar and doing ground reporting are narrating a different tale. While Shankarshan Thakur is the Roving Editor of ‘The Telegraph’and the author of book ‘The Life And Times of Nitish Kumar of Bihar’, Prashant Jha is the Associate Editor of Hindustan Times.

Shankarshan Thakur tweeted a few days back with his political analysis of Bihar.

He further wrote a column titled “ABCD of elections in Bihar“, in which he writes about how Nitish’s development work is failing to fetch any votes in Bihar and Bihar is voting based on caste lines like it has been for the longest time. He further writes about revival of Lalu.

Blacktop highways, powerlit villages, teeming schools, beehive health centres and block offices are not the news from Bihar any longer. The news from Bihar is you fetch no votes for any of that…

All along the 300-odd-kilometre journey I made north-east of Patna.., the state and its people offered resounding testimony that chief minister Nitish Kumar’s dream of fashioning “Naya Bihar” is a fiction of his fancies, no more.

Constituency after constituency, Bihar is voting neither indigenous work nor imported wave, but current and counter-current of caste and creed…

In Darbhanga, the uppermost possibility is that the RJD’s M.A. Fatmi will squeeze through two Maithil Brahmins fielded by the BJP and the JD(U) — sitting MP Kirti Azad and challenger Sanjay Jha.

In Madhubani, there’s every prospect that Abdul Bari Siddiqui, another Lalu man, will unseat Hukum Dev Narayan Yadav of the BJP because it no longer enjoys the vote that came to it courtesy the alliance with the JD(U).

Lalu Prasad’s on a comeback trail in Bihar and he may have halted Modi’s advance mid-street in the process. Nitish, meantime, may want to grope at faded dreams twisting in the pall of wayside dust.

Prashant Jha also tweeted along the same lines the day after Shankarshan Thakur expressed his views on Twitter. He has also been touring similar areas as Shankarshan Thakur and comes to the same conclusion.

Prashant Jha in his column “Seemanchal puts Modi wave to test” analysed the 7 seats in Bihar’s North Eastern belt that go to polls on April 24, 2014. He writes:

For the NDA to achieve its goal of bagging 25 of 40 seats in the state, this belt (north eastern belt) is crucial for the BJP.

But it’s a tough task. For instance, consider the four seats in the Seemanchal region that comprises of Purnia, Araria, Katihar and Kishanganj districts. In Katihar, BJP three-term MP Nikhil Choudhary, faces a strong challenge from NCP’s Tariq Anwar, who is backed by the Congress and Lalu Prasad’s RJD. Anwar, a four-term MP, lost the last three elections, but this time, the disenchantment with sitting MP Choudhary and a consolidation of Muslim votes could see him through, the Anwar camp claims.

In Purnea, two-term BJP MP Uday Singh has an edge, but is criticised for neither being accessible nor having created jobs despite his business background. He faces a tough challenge from JD(U)’s Santosh Khushwaha.

In Araria, the incumbent, Pradeep Singh is unpopular, according to BJP leaders themselves. Singh told HT he will win if Muslim votes are split between RJD’s Mohammed Taslimuddin and the JD(U).

In Kishanganj, the Congress candidates’ victory is almost certain.

In neighbouring Bhagalpur, Shahanawaz Hussain has won with the backing of the BJP’s support base among the upper and middle caste voters, along with a slice of a Muslim votes. But this time, there is a perception that Muslims may not vote for him, given their apprehensions regarding Modi.

The election outcome in this belt will be a real testimony to whether the Modi factor has worked, or if the local has overwhelmed the national, and whether Muslims votes have voted consolidated or fragmented.

Just like AAP’s ascendance in Delhi in December, 2013, trounced the so called Modi wave, Lalu’s revival in Bihar will again trounce the media hype created around Modi.