While travelling in trains to Bihar, the debate and discussion related to the state is endless. Be it the bad infrastructure, poor quality of education, the crowded buses or women walking on roads barefoot for miles to fetch basic necessities such as water and collect wood logs to cook food in the time of pipeline gas system and technology; it amazes everyone.
Every individual has a different opinion on political culture. Questions come pouring when there’s a discussion on whether Bihar is known for the goons shown in movies and the vulgar songs it makes. And how can one forget the very popular incident of Ruby Rai, the topper of Bihar Board, who failed to answer the subjects she had studied. The blame game didn’t stop and accurately exposed the poor education system and dear to every authority- corruption. Political parties in India lack clear ideology and have their own conflict.
Parties are known by their leaders rather than their manifesto.
The so-called ideological parties are guided by only one consideration- power culture. Therefore, in order to bring a change, the way people perceive their leaders needs to change. The National Statistical Office (NSO) Survey 2020 showed India’s overall literacy rate stands at 77.7% in which Bihar is the third-worst performing state with a literacy rate at 70.9%.
As per India’s Census 2011, Youth (15-24 years) in India constitutes one-fifth (19.1%) of India’s total population. India is expected to have 34.33% share of youth in total population by this year. It is always said that in developing countries with large youth populations, focus should be given on education, health and their rights. Uttar Pradesh and Bihar’s populations have the lowest median ages or youngest populations in India according to the census.
When we talk about youth, let’s consider the situation of schools of Bihar that are run by the government, 90% of them. The expenditure by the government on per student’s elementary education is very little. The balance amongst spending on teacher’s salaries, training, mid-day meal, books and uniforms is meagre and doesn’t prove to be decent at all.
No more than 38% of students enrolled in Class 1 complete their secondary education (Class 10) in Bihar, according to The Bihar Economic Survey 2015-16. Bihar should have 746,479 teachers in elementary school, according to the pupil-teacher ratio criterion of 1 teacher for every 30 students in primary school and one teacher for every 35 students in upper primary. Imagine a scenario where students are willing to learn and do something meaningful in life but don’t have adequate resources.
The problem of proper allocation of resources makes it tough for people to survive and hence, they take matters in their own hands. During monsoons, Bihar gets drowned almost every year but people do not get enough relief from the government. In order to survive the shift to areas much higher away from water, some sell their cattle while others just sit hopelessly because they are aware of the insensitive politicians.
The political culture is no less than a circus. Lust for power, material considerations, factionalism, defections, splits, mergers, fragmentation, polarisation have been important aspects of the functioning of political parties. Nitish Kumar and Ram Vilas Paswan opposed Prime Minister Narendra Modi on secularism- communism debate over the 2002 Gujarat riots. And today both are dear to him.
Nitish Kumar has gained enough resources by staying in power for nearly 15 years. So, it’s very easy to understand the game of politics that is going to start for the authorities’ own benefit. In the last few months, political parties such as the BJP conducted virtual rallies maybe because of the fear and defeat it faced previously; from 8th November 2015 to 11th February 2020, State Legislative Assembly elections were held in 18 states and the party lost in 16 states!
“The desperation in the Prime Minister’s action is evident today. The way they are hanging with Nitish, praising him repeatedly shows that even after so many years BJP has no leadership of its own. They are constantly losing state elections and their confidence level has come down significantly”, said DM Diwakar, Former Director of Anugrah Narayan Sinha Samaj Adhyayan Sanstha, Patna.
The 2020 Bihar elections is a digital war. According to a report by The Quint, BJP has made more than 1 Lakh WhatsApp groups, RJD’s youth wing alone is soon going to reach 25 lakh people in Bihar and RJD is working hard on topics keeping in mind the content, research work, design and technical stuff and also tells about creating verified Twitter pages for 38 districts in Bihar so that besides WhatsApp, they can reach voters on Twitter as well.
RJD slogans are now revolving around Tejashwi Yadav rather than Lalu Yadav such as ‘Tej Raftar, Tejashwi Sarkar’ or ‘Badlav ki Chhavi Tejashwi’.
JD(U) is focusing more on high-tech campaigning rather than digital campaigning. At least 150 high-tech camping raths have been created which have two big LED screens along with sound systems. Whereas Congress is going to hold ‘Bihar Kranti Virtual Mahasammelan’ live on Facebook, YouTube and Twitter.
In the lust for power and war amongst themselves, the parties must have forgotten how many people actually know how to use a smartphone or if everyone has the money to even buy it or not. The people residing in village areas do not have access to the Internet and they don’t even have the basic knowledge of what the election is about or what the parties manifesto has to offer to the people. An individual who dreams of having basic means of livelihood and a dignified life considers it a luxury and not their soulful right in today’s time.
With power comes great responsibility and the people of Bihar need a regime that can look after their basic rights such as no discrimination on whatsoever basis, right to adequate means of livelihood and the most important one being able to study and have access to proper education.
Bihar needs to focus on the proper functioning of colleges, quality of education, infrastructure, menstrual hygiene management, job opportunities and stringent laws on any kind of discrimination and cases against minorities. It’s about saving Bihar from getting worse and demanding with full authority what rightfully belongs to the people.