Sunday, December 5, 2010

Power of Indian democracy - Bihar elections

About 20 years ago (if my memory is not mistaken), there was a Telugu movie - BHARAT BANDH. It was a heart rendering, scary movie of a political turmoil in India where a corrupt, mafia and a ruthless politician resorts to every possible treachery and becomes the PM of India. It is here when he converts the country to a state of anarchy where women could be raped anywhere, people could be killed at will and law and order could be rewritten at will. This movie, according to me, was a depiction of what Bihar was turning into at that time.

Under Lalu's rule, Bihar had become a JUNGLE RAJ. Kidnapping, rape, murder - were so common that when my parents once went to Gaya, the auto driver said he cannot drive after 6 p.m. as he was scared of his life. I could not believe my parents were travelling in their own country, a democracy which they cherish and celebrate every year. Is this a state in my country? Is this the very state from which Chandragupta Maurya established the first Indian empire driving away the Greeks with a powerful army shocking even the mighty Europeans? I, at once, felt this is not India.

Every time during Lalu's raj, booth capturing was common. People's votes were tampered. This is the state Lalu left. This is the state in which people feared life and not death. (The state then saw the largest number of out flux of Biharis to every part of India esp, Delhi and Mumbai).

For more than 15 years, caste played such an important role in Bihar. Politicians exploited this to the core. This time, however, after seeing that a GOVT can deliver, people from all castes, religions voted for JD(U) -BJP combine. In fact, several Muslim constituencies overwhelmingly voted for BJP. 

Bihar's 2010 elections whose results came about  a  week ago proved something else. A leader, a worker emerged - Nitish Kumar. The way Nitish Kumar worked for the past 5 years (2005-2010) is truly an inspiration. Having put 54,000 criminals behind bars, constructed roads, hotels, buildings, bridges, he scripted the largest turn around in growth amongst the poorest states in India. Nitish won 206/243 seats. Congress was crushed, Lalu was decimated. This is the power of Indian democracy. The people vote for the leader who shows something on the ground, who stands firm and who never tolerates corruption. Nitish has given a reality and a hope upon that reality that he will convert Bihar into a developed state. This is not a typical promise every CM makes. He proved to a very big extent he can deliver and then rekindled the hope. Hope he delivers.

I had earlier written an article in Jan this year (click here) showing how Bihar is experiencing a revolution - social and economic. I will not repeat the same here. Bihar today is buzzing with roads, malls, colleges, education institutes, improved law and order. In fact, Delhi has become "rape capital", while Patna has become a safer place for women. 50% reservation for women in panchayats and local bodies is already enacted and is slowly bringing about a revolution in Bihar.

Bihar's poor girls are now given free bicycle so that they can go to schools. This has decreased the school drop off rate and increased their enrollment.

Nitish, after election, decided to enact RIGHT TO SERVICE BILL which makes it mandatory for state govt officials to give citizen services in a time bound manner. This step is to curb the red tapism and corruption.(Hope, this kicks off and works as expected)

Nitish Kumar writes a blog too....!!! Here's the link.

So, is everything perfect in Bihar? No, social parameters in Bihar are still the lowest. 33% is women's literacy rate - it is the lowest in the country. Bihar has the highest school drop off rate. Agriculture and industrialization hasn't yet taken off. All this can take place only when law and order is placed. Electricity needs is also Bihar's greatest challenge. Mass employment generation is the need of the hour. Corruption still exists. Of course, for a state that has not seen progress for 15 years, it is a long way to go. Unlike several other states - TamilNadu, Andhra, Karnataka, Kerala, Maharashtra, Gujarat - Bihar lagged behind for 15 years. 

Bihar needs to aggressively follow the dual policy of agricultural growth coupled with industrialization. This is exactly what Modi is doing in Gujarat bringing massive employment opportunities to people. 

Some people remarked as to why I am so happy writing about Bihar. My comment to such a remark is this..".I am not a BIHARI, but I am an Indian. Whenever any of the poor states like Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh develop - the entire country grows with it. These poor states are the reason why India lacks behind. It is these BIMARU states that are holding back India's development. These states have the highest population density and the least governed parameters. Hence, the success of these states is very critical to India's rise."

Rahul Gandhi has a serious thing to do. Inspire an Indian to vote for him. Explain why should one see him as the future PM candidate. I don't see any charm other than age that acts as his biggest strength (apart from the obvious fact that he is a Gandhi). Rahul gave almost 6 speeches, stayed in Dalit's houses, made huge promises. None of his speeches was either inspiring nor had a vision to be happy of. I wonder why media continues to hype him. In fact, I was glad when media reported this question - Is Rahul over rated? Click here to watch the video. Congress just got 4 seats out of all 243 seats it contested (losing 5 seats from the last time) 

Nitish Kumar, Narendra Modi and in fact Sheila Dikshit stand as better contenders to PM than Rahul Gandhi.   

1 comment:

Raghu said...

well analysed, nitish is worth all the credits.but i still doubt the state of democracy in india is all fine.karnataka for example has gone to dogs under the bjp rule. what i mean to say here is its not the party its the person in the helm of affairs with a concern for society and people at large are delivering.i liked the ending of your article naming performers of all parties as contenders.