This post has been self-published on Youth Ki Awaaz by Jai Prakash Ojha. Just like them, anyone can publish on Youth Ki Awaaz.

The Bihar Elections Are Full Of Unexpected Twists And Turns, But Who Will Finally Win…

More from Jai Prakash Ojha

By Jai Prakash Ojha for Youth Ki Awaaz: 

With the conclusion of the 4th phase of polling on 1st November in the Bihar Assembly Elections 2015, the stage is all set for the exciting next phase, to be held on 5th November. This election has been a long drawn out process and despite the lapse of four phases; no political pundit is willing to predict the likely outcome. Both the contestants – the Grand Alliance (GA) and NDA – are claiming victory as the surveys have further abetted the prevailing confusion. However, much water has flown under the bridge, ever since the election process commenced and certain observations can be risked in the light of changed political circumstances and revision in electoral strategies of the NDA and GA.

bihar elections 2015
Image source: Blogspot

No Wave In Favour Of Any Party

The first three phases of elections have witnessed a polling percentage hovering around the mid-fifties which is fair enough but certainly not great enough to be termed as overwhelming enthusiasm on the part of the electorate as it is made out to be. There is nothing short of a wave in favour of or against any political combine in most parts of the state. There is nothing like an anti-incumbency factor for Nitish or any undercurrents of the Modi magic that we saw in the previous LS elections. Amidst a plethora of issues, it is difficult to pinpoint any issue in particular that may affect the outcome of the election. The fact that men have been outnumbered by women at many polling booths does point towards increasing participation of women in democracy but by no stretch of imagination can it be construed to be a predilection towards any alliance, as Nitish will be hoping.

Marginal Impact Of AIMIM And Bihar Third Front

At the outset, many observers thought AIMIM and the so-called Bihar Third Front would play spoilers for the GA in this closely fought Bihar election but as per the ground reports, it seems that there is a remote possibility of any division in the so-called ‘secular’ votes. The minorities appear united in their visceral hatred for the BJP and the Owaisi factor may not dent GA’s electoral prospects. Mulayam’s statement supporting BJP further convinced the electorate of a possible quid pro quo between SP and BJP. The NCP, Jan Adhikar Party and the SP may have some localized impact, but it will be preposterous to think that they will emerge as serious contenders to benefit BJP.

Will It Be A Nitish Versus Modi?

When the electioneering campaign kicked off, it seemed as if it was all about Narendra Modi and Nitish with both of them talking of development, special packages and yes, special status for the state and countering each other with statistics on economy and crime rate as the media resonated with debates centered around the much hyped Gujarat and Bihar model of development. There was an element of drama and histrionics too due to the ‘Bihar DNA‘ barb, the infamous dinner controversy, the historic betrayal as claimed and the ego factor. The NDA campaign strategy focused heavily on Nitish but then things took an interesting turn.

The indomitable Lalu decided to take on the RSS Chief for his views on reservation. Nitish lost his eminence despite being the C.M. face of the GA. Lalu became the epicenter of the state political discourse. Focus on issues like development and governance shifted to a discourse centered around reservation and resurrection of divisive Mandal politics, read ‘forward – backward’ divide. The political lexicon got enriched by the addition of colorful and choicest vocabulary as the election campaign touched new lows. Lalu knows that he can’t take on the NDA on the development plank due to his not too inspiring track record on governance and hence, his recourse to shrill caste rhetoric. The NDA was shaken out of its complacency and Lalu became the epicenter of its frontal attacks.

In the course of my interactions with people from all cross sections of the society, it is hard to shrug off the feeling that the RJD chief has emerged as the strongest vote catcher for GA, has regained some of his old magic and instilled some fear in the NDA leadership. The reservation thunderbolt has unnerved the BJP which appears to be in damage control mode as some consolidation among OBCs has taken place after Bhagwat’s utterances. It is not without reason that the PM was compelled to turn the reservation debate upside down by incorporating the communal angle into it and playing the EBC card.

Caste Versus Communal Polarization

While the GA appears to be working towards caste polarization, for the BJP, religious polarization remains the best bet. Just recollect how the BJP is raking up issues like beef, cow, pseudo secularism and communal reservation. But when we look at history, we see that though the Hindutva card has trumped the caste card in UP at times benefitting BJP, in Bihar the Hindutva brigade has not yet been able to solve the Mandal riddle. RJD and JDU have proved to be far too formidable. However, BJP of 2015 is different from the BJP of 1990 as the state unit boasts of some OBC heavyweights. Political contours may change in the state this time as the EBCs look not much comfortable with the OBCs. Dalits are assertive with both the Dalit icons Manjhi and Ram Vilas firmly with the NDA. It is my conjecture that maximum upper OBC votes would go to GA and EBC votes to BJP. With EBCs and Dalits accounting for around 40 percent of the state population, it seems that this block will be the game changer.

Development has receded from campaign discourse and focus is more on ideology. The political analysts may despair over the absence of people-centric issues but then, this Bihar election does have a soul which seems to be lacking elsewhere. The less said about Congress, the better it is. The electorate is questioning the logic of giving 40 seats to Congress. Whether it will be a GA win or an NDA win, the fate of Congress will remain unchanged as it has been consigned to the sidelines of Bihar polity.

More twists and turns are in store. The Kosi belt with a sizeable EBC population and the Seemanchal region with considerable minority clout are yet to go to polls. The political soothsayers are keeping their fingers crossed as sabre-rattling between the two camps is about to reach a crescendo.

‘Bihar Elections With Ojha’ is part of Youth Ki Awaaz’s special coverage of the Bihar 2015 elections.

You must be to comment.
  1. Green Mango More

    Its is really confusing to predict anyone’s winning. Nithish kumar is a good CM candidate but connecting with Lalu Prasad Yadav can be a loss for him and on the other hand Modi has a huge impact on Bihar. Waiting for the results, till then we should keep calm.

  2. Girija Nandini

    An excellent analysis.it is a fact that Bihar has remained the most backward & poorest even though it has the resources & human talent.Once Bihar sees development & growth,every one in Bihar will get the benefit.Probably in last four phases people have acted more on honesty of candidates than party or caste affiliation.The final phase of Bihar election will be most intense & toughest.Voting percentage will be very high.Every party and alliance – Mahagathbandhan,NDA & Third front have good presence.Apart from the two main alliances,other constituents like Pappu Yadav,mayawati,Mulayam & even left have put their best efforts to gain the most.But it is the last opportunity for the people to remain firm to elect only honest candidates for governance.Bihar has suffered a lot for last six decades in the dirty hands of opportunist cunning politicians.Let there be an beginning of new era.An era of prosperity,development,brotherhood,peace & harmony.Bihar has enough resources & human talent for growth,but anti social elements have ruined Bihar.People of Bihar are shining in every corner of the world but Bihar is languishing due to corrupt leaders.Let it be” Corrupt Vs Honest”.Let all corrupts go to jail with out bail.let all honest govern.Let Bihar shine.Let there be a noble governance.let good sense prevail.

  3. dssarma

    Though it is unpredictable at this stage, if Nitish wins, there will not be much change in governance or development. With Lalu prasad wanting deputy CM post for his son, the situation could become worse. So Bihar may not benefit much with Nitish as Modi is going to continue atleast for the next
    3.5 years or more as PM.
    In case if BJP Wins, Bihar could see a bigger development push.

More from Jai Prakash Ojha

Similar Posts

By Ritwik Trivedi

By shakeel ahmad

By Siddharth Burman

Wondering what to write about?

Here are some topics to get you started

Share your details to download the report.









We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

Share your details to download the report.









We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

Share your details to download the report.









We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform Change.org, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on Change.org has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in Change.org’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

Sign up for the Youth Ki Awaaz Prime Ministerial Brief below