Jharkhand Results: Setback To Congress’s Proposed Go It Alone Policy In Bihar

Independent Media
(BiharTimes) All the political parties of Bihar, barring to some extent the Rashtriya Janata Dal, have badly burnt their fingers in Jharkhand. It is true chief minister Nitish Kumar’s party, Janata Dal United, could win only two seats against six last time and the BJP 18 against 30 in 2005 yet the truth is that it is the Congress, which has suffered similar humiliation.

For their own satisfaction its leaders may claim that the party’s performance has improved and that it has won 14 seats against nine last time, but the fact is that much of it was possible because of its alliance with the Jharkhand Vikas Morcha of the first chief minister, Babulal Marandi, which won 11 out of just 25 seats it contested. It was much of the JVM votes which got transferred to the Congress, rather the other way round.
Stalwarts like state party chief Pradeep Kumar Balmuchu, seasoned politician Furqan Ansari and Stephen Marandi, who crossed over from the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha all lost their election, all when the prestige of Rahul Gandhi was also at the stake.
The result of Jharkhand election is a lesson for all the political parties of Bihar, especially to the Congress, whose leaders always talk of go it alone policy. Their national spokesman like, Dr Shakeel Ahmed, and several other state leaders have failed to understand that the party organization is in a disarray, be it in Bihar or Jharkhand, and can achieve nothing alone. Now it is clear that had the party not rushed to the last-minute alliance with Babulal Marandi it may have ended up with much lesser number of seats.
True, Bihar and Jharkhand are now two different states yet there is no denying the fact that politics of these two states often influence each other. The decline of the Congress Party started in the region in the late 1980s that is more than a decade before the creation of Jharkhand. What is surprising is that while 44 per cent of the fledgling Jharkhand Vikas Morcha’s candidates won (11 out of 25 it contested) the success rate of the Congress Party was just 25 per cent (14 out of 56), and that too because a large number of the votes of the former got transferred to the latter.
If the Congress Party could win just 25 per cent seat when fighting in alliance with Marandi’s party in Jharkhand, where the minority votes (Muslims as well as Christians) are much larger the fate of the party in Bihar––if it goes alone in 2010 assembly election––can only be guessed.
Though after the results while some Jharkhand leaders, like Subodh Kant Sahay, see nothing wrong in aligning with the RJD, the Congressmen of Bihar are living in fool’s paradise. They are opposing any such deal in Jharkhand as it would compel the Bihar unit to enter into alliance with the RJD-LJP combine. The irony is that the leaders of Bihar are coming up with fantastic assertion that its performance is improving when the truth is that in the parliamentary election held in April-May the party performance was worst in the last two decades. It won only two out of 40 seats. Only in 1977 and 1991 it performed more badly when it won nil and one seats respectively. Then Bihar used to have 54 seats as Jharkhand was a part.
What the Congress leaders failed to fathom is that the RJD managed to almost hold on to its old position in Jharkhand. It won five seats against seven last time. But it needs to be mentioned that the RJD has no prominent leader and no suitable M-Y combination in Jharkhand. Besides, unlike last time it is neither in power in Bihar nor is Lalu a minister in the Centre. In spite of the fact it managed to perform better than even the Janata Dal United, which fought in alliance with the BJP and had its own traditional votebank.
There is hardly anything for the Congressmen of Bihar to cheer about in the Jharkhand election.


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