In the course of the Bihar election campaign of behalf of his party, the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) and the Mahagathbandhan (the grand alliance), the chief ministerial face of the alliance Tejashwi Yadav has been indicating a significant shift of focus. ‘That was the era [his father Laloo Yadav’s] of social justice; this is the time of economic justice and the youth today want jobs’. Clearly this shift comes against the backdrop of the massive loss of jobs and livelihoods over the past six years since this government came to power. The lockdown was only the most inhuman culmination the the process of destruction of livelihoods that began with demonetization, followed by the ill-thought out Goods and Services Tax (GST).
If the media discourse on Bihar elections has any semblance of truth, this election is a choice between Pepsi and Coke. Whatever you choose, you get a cola of casteism, corruption and gangsters. On one hand we have winning combination of intermediate castes, the assured Muslim vote, the great legacy of fodder scam and kidnapping rings with added glitter of so called good governance and on the other hand the return of feudal dominance, the guaranteed promise of a theocracy and another band of gangsters. It is difficult to fathom from the media coverage that there is a third alternative available in shape of left which is free from all these attractions and offering a principled platform. You can see on television Upendra Kushwahas and Pappu Yadavs holding forth on their great vision for Bihar, the daily tantrums of Majhi and Paswan for their tug-of-war on seats but talk of the left and even Ravish Kumar forgets to mention them on his daily shouting matches on Bihar election. Is it because of our corporate media is not willing to invest in those not willing to invest on caste and religion? Continue reading Bihar Needs a Corbyn Moment: Sushil Chandra→
Ever since Asaduddin Owaisi, president of the All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (henceforth MIM), addressed a well-attended public meeting in Kishanganj on August 17, speculation about his party contesting election in Bihar has been rife. Three weeks after the rally, Owaisi, eventually, decided that he would field candidates in Muslim-dominated Seemanchal region of Kishanganj, Araria, Purnia and Katihar. “MIM will put up candidates in Bihar’s Seemanchal region, which is not only backward but also has a lot of problems. There has to be over all development,” Owaisi told media, giving the leaders of anti-Hindutva Grand Alliance jitters.
Contrary to Owaisi’s latest move, some political observers had held the view that given the weak organisational structure of the MIM in Bihar and late entry in the state, Owaisi was unlikely to jump into assembly election. For example, senior journalist and political commentator, Khurshid Hashmi said that if Owaisi had been serious about Bihar election, he would have launched his campaign much earlier as he did in UP. Continue reading Scramble for Muslim Votes as Owaisi Jumps into Bihar Polls: Abhay Kumar→