Biharis never had great leaders to choose from. On one side, it was Narendra Modi-led BJP who once used to have a large public following thanks to his great speeches, and on the other hand, Nitish Kumar led Mahagathbandan. 10 years back, When Nitish Kumar came into power defeating Lalu Yadav, everyone was ecstatic, they saw a light of hope in him and he stood up for it too.
But things were not the same now. In these 10 years, may things had changed including Nitish Kumar breaking bonds with BJP and standing as an independent party and losing the long-built trust. Things turned bad for him that he was forced to ally with Lalu Yadav, his arch enemy. Why did Biharis vote for him then?
As a Bihari citizen, I was pretty sure that Mahagathbandan had a very narrow chance of winning the elections unless BJP did some major blunders and they did. The major blunders that turned the table and led to BJP’s loss in Bihar were:
1. Narendra Modi’s part in campaign: Being the PM of largest democrat in the world, you are supposed to handle a lot of affairs and planning and that for sure doesn’t involve campaigning for your party in state level elections. I do not stand against his foreign trips in order to bring investment to the country, but campaigning for local elections was a new low.
2. No CM candidate! This turned out to be a major downer for BJP. They campaigned for elections in almost every part of Bihar, spending loads for money but they missed on the thing that mattered the most. As they never announced a CM candidate for Bihar, they never had any options to look forward to.
3. Narendra Modi’s failure to curb intolerance: I do not want to debate about how tolerant or intolerant India is right now since there are some strong points in both favors. The problem arose when his leaders went on to say some stupid remarks and there was no one to stop them or even apologize for it. Being the PM, you are supposed to cure increasing intolerance in the country.
4. Losing Muslim Voters: After Dadri Incident and repetitive cruel remarks by famous BJP Leaders, it was pretty sure that Muslims would lose their trust in BJP and that could be seen in Bihar elections. 16.5% of Bihar population comprises of Muslims and they could not afford to make such remarks and implemet laws against Muslims.
5. Modi’s inability to stand up on his words: While campaigning for elections, Modi has been known to give large hopes and aspirations to people, he makes the most unbelievable claims that no one can ever fulfill. His inability to stand up to his promises caused him to lose a lot of followers.
6. Inability to focus on regional problems: Throughout the entire campaign period, BJP went on to promise the biggest of things for Bihar including the big budget but they failed to focus on the grass root problems that are pertaining in regional areas of Bihar. They talked about how it would be good for the country but not about how it will benefit those regional areas. This played an important part in the loss too.