Sunday, August 27, 2006

The fall of Lalu

The result of the recently concluded Bihar state election morning can be perhaps best described as one which reposed the faith of the common masses in the Indian democracy. It gave a new mandate, one which will perhaps change Bihar; unfortunately the time which people required for making up their mind was too long.

Fifteen years was the time taken by the upper castes, the lower castes, the Muslims and the Hindus to realize that what Lalu was doing for them was not right. It's a glaring example of what castes and class politics can do . People in rural parts of India, in states like Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, give more importance to their caste than to development.

The Yadavs and the Muslims who thought the RJD as their savior were sadly disappointed. The party itself created problems and issues which were non existence, and then gave solace to the Yadavs and the Muslims by projecting themselves as their only messiah. The MY group members also did not get any material benefits which they were expecting, what they received was cosmetic relief in forms of 'recognition in the society-contracts and some minor posts in PSUs'.

Riding on his luck, and the blind belief of people, the once rural boy of Bihar soon became the chief minister, proclaimed himself as the kingmaker, and kingmaker he did become but at the expense of his own people who once had elected him and had pinned their hopes on him.

Kidnapping, murder, rapes are now words that symbolize Bihar. The state was left in the hands of goons and the "chootbhaiya" netas of the ruling party. Medical professionals were picked up only to be released or killed after the payment of ransom money. Even Small children's like "Kishlay" were not spared. Kidnapping became a high profit yielding profession, just like politics. The state machinery including the bureaucrats is suffering from a very low morale due to the years of misuse and exploitation they were made to suffer in the hands of the politicians.

The scams during the tenure of Lalu Yadav which rocked the nation included the Rs.900 crore fodder scam, the Rs.600 crore bitumen scam, the Rs.400 crore land scam and the Rs.300 crore tree cutting scam. Many more simply were not discovered. Suraj Bhan, Mohd.Shhahbudin, Pappu yadav could not have stopped smiling when they were told that their duty as an elected member of the people is to respect the constitutional, respect the law and work for the people. How ironical that people who least respected the law were made the law makers. Incongruity has strange ways of coming true.

Corruption and casteism in Bihar were rampant even before Lalu Yadav emerged as a political leader, but he himself cannot deny that it was during his rule these became a problem of gigantic proportions. It created problems for the people of Bihar, but for the ruling RJD it became the tool, one which had the power to secure the party a secure mandate for ruling the state for fifteen years. The man in charge of RJD soon realized that if he has to make a niche for himself in the politics of Bihar, his two best friends would be caste and power. The former was an entry point for attaining the latter.

The emergence of Lalu Prasad Yadav as a leader with a mass following of the backward sections and the minorities should be seen in this context. He was aware that for him to be in power his support should come from the people of the minority and the 'backward' classes. This he demonstrated by resisting the infamous "rath yatra" of the BJP from entering Bihar. His comical, spontaneous, rural image bought him laurels and support; he was the one man party.

Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. This is what happened with him. His only objective was to keep power, and for that he did everything, except what he had promised the masses. It's also unfortunate for the Indian politics that a leader with such a mass following could not deliver. Perhaps his associates were to be blamed more then he himself, for failing to live up to the expectations.

After the previous election results were announced, it took very little time for a seasoned campaigner like Lalu to know that he was fighting a losing battle, though he didn't admit it. Political analyst will give various reasons like anti incumbency for the change of power, but only the people of Bihar will know that it took them a long time to realize the misdeeds of the ruling RJD, and it took even a more longer time to rise above the caste politics, but they rose and now are perhaps eagerly waiting to see some changes, changes which will take a while to bear fruit. It is now to the leaders of the country to realize that the time of Mayawatis, Mulayam Singh's and Paswan's who were dependent on caste and religion politics has come to an end.

The election results have shown that the Indian voters have become more responsible, more mature and more aware of the might their votes hold. It's now up to the new government to act and bring the state on the right track. People have huge expectation from the newly elected government.

Expectation of good governance, expectation of better infrastructure, expectation of employment opportunities and better amenities. And only time will tell whether Nitish Kumar, the new Chief Minister has the political will and the people's support which is required for developing the state. Getting the state out of the anarchy that Lalu and his cronies have created in past 15 years, will take time. Demolishing something is a quick process, building it back is not.

Nitish Kumar has an uphill task to restore Bihar to its pristine glory. He will have to make compromises with the different elements, which predictbly will be tough. History is nothing but a summary of changes, some good some bad; let's hope that this change would go down as good.

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