oppn parties A Marriage of Convenience in Bihar: Will it Last?

News Snippets

  • Media person Rajat Sharma resigns as DDCA president
  • Shiv Sena, NCP and Congress postpone meeting the governor of Maharashtra
  • Shiv Sena not to attend the NDA meeting on 17th November, says break up "a formality"
  • Shiv Sena says that the confidence the BJP is showing about forming the government in Maharashtra is based purely on its expectation of getting numbers through horse trading
  • Anil Ambani resigns as director of the bankrupt Reliance Communications
  • India beat Bangladesh by an innings and 150 rums inside three days in the first Test. Indian pacers excel after Mayank Agarwal's double century
  • Sena-NCP-Congress work out a common minimum programme, will form the government soon and it will last 5 years, says Sharad Pawar
  • Income Tax Appellate Tribunal upholds the decision to withdraw the charitable status of Young India, making it liable to pay Rs 145 in income tax. Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Vadra are the majority shareholders in the company
  • CBI raids offices of Amnesty International across India
  • Supreme Court quashes NCLAT order against Arcelor Mittal and paves the way for the company to take over ailing Essar Steel
  • Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman says concerns of telcos will be addressed and no company will close down
  • Government thinking of providing higher insurance coverage on bank deposits
  • Mayank Agarwal scores a double century as India take firm grip on the first Test versus Bangladesh
  • Supreme Court warns Rahul Gandhi to be more careful in future but drops contempt proceedings in the "chor" case
  • In a flip-flop, Vodafone CEO says sorry to the government, sys no plan to exit India
Supreme Court dismisses plea for review in Rafale case, says no need for roving inquiry, maintains clean chit to government
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A Marriage of Convenience in Bihar: Will it Last?

By Sunil Garodia

About the Author

Sunil Garodia Editor-in-Chief of indiacommentary.com. Current Affairs analyst and political commentator. Writes for a number of publications.
Even as Lalu Prasad proposed that a united Janat Parivar fight the ensuing Bihar assembly elections under the leadership of Nitish Kumar, two things stood out. One, Lalu was the only one not smiling in the pictures published in the media post the announcement (see picture). Two, in subsequent interviews to the media, Lalu said that he is ready to “drink poison to crush the cobra of communalism.”

Now, the lack of a smile clearly showed that he proposed Nitish’s name under duress, while everyone knows that if you drink poison, you either have to vomit to throw it out or bear the consequences. Knowing Lalu, he will not bear the consequences. He will throw out the poison so that Nitish will bear more than just the consequences. Congress has played the role of matchmaker due to its own compulsions. It has stopped making a mark in Bihar in last several elections. It needs the straw of this alliance to remain afloat. But this alliance of convenience is doomed to failure, as the many such experiments before it.

The real fun will start over seat sharing. It is very easy to say that Nitish will be candidate for chief minister. But when it comes to selecting candidates for individual seats, many factors come into play. Having conceded the top post to Nitish, Lalu will now want to bargain hard to have more MLAs in place in case there is a leadership tussle in future. Nitish, on the other hand, will want to consolidate his position in the assembly by having a majority of his people. Add to this the requirements of other allies like the Congress and the NCP and you have a situation that is waiting to go out of hand.

Further, it is very difficult to have ordinary workers who were fighting each other for the last so many years to change in a few months and start working together. Apart from built in mistrust, there are caste and communal factors that keep them at each others’ throats. Then, since the ordinary worker himself will not be convinced of the stability of the alliance, he will be unconvincing when explaining the same to the voters.

An alliance of local leaders with small parties at state level is in theory best placed to challenge and defeat big national parties in state elections. But theories falter when put in to practice. This alliance will give headaches to the BJP and force it to change its strategy in Bihar, but its stability is in doubt due to the frequent ego clashes between its top leadership.