After the Grand Alliance's victory, here's a look back at the A to Z of the Bihar Assembly polls

A: Ahankar – Throughout the campaign Prime Minister Narendra Modi kept attacking his rival Nitish Kumar for his ‘arrogance’. He reminded people how the latter had returned Rs 5 crore sent for Kosi flood relief by the Gujarat government out of ego.

B: Beef – The lynching of a man in Dadri for allegedly eating beef and the subsequent outrage over it became a big campaign issue in Bihar. The BJP latched on to Lalu’s remark that Hindus also ate beef and made it a big talking point.
C: Caste – In Bihar, you cannot separate caste from polls. From the beginning, both alliances have been trying to get the caste arithmetic out. As the campaign progressed, all talk of development went out of the window and all players reverted to harping on caste.

D: Darbhanga module – In a bid to paint the Nitish Kumar-led Mahagathbandhan in the communal colour, Prime Minister Modi raised the issue of Darbhanga module. SIMI chief Yasin Bhatkal was arrested in Darbhanga two years ago and intelligence agencies had detected sleeper cells of the outfit.

Representational image. Image courtesy: PTI

Representational image. Image courtesy: PTI

E: EBCs – The Economically Backward Castes constitute about 25 percent of voters in the state. That’s why they are critical for the success of any political party or alliance in elections. Comprising many caste groups, they are, however, not a solid vote bank.

F: Fan – RJD chief Lalu Yadav had a providential escape when an overhead fan fell on the stage during a rally at Motihari. It missed him narrowly but knocked the tea cup off his hand.

G: Grand Alliance – The JD(U), the RJD and the Congress formed a pre-poll alliance of secular parties to take on the BJP-led NDA. Chief Minister Nitish Kumar heads this alliance. The Samajwadi Party was supposed to be part of it but it broke off over seat-sharing.

H: Hindu – The BJP sought a polarization of the Hindu votes through the beef controversy and the allegation that its political rivals were planning to create a quota for Muslims from the seats already reserved for different castes.

I: Islam – The communal card was played freely during the campaigning with an aim to polarizing votes. The matters of Islam and Muslims were raised at several rallies.

J: Jungle Raj – The NDA’s campaign almost entirely focused on Jungle Raj. It sought to remind the state of affairs during the Lalu-Rabri rule of 15 years. This was a period when law and order was in a shambles.
K: King-makers – If the Nitish Kumar-led Mahagathbandhan wins the polls, Lalu Prasad will be the kingmaker. If the NDA wins then it will be Narendra Modi and BJP chief Amit Shah. The real control of the next government will not be with the potential chief ministers.

L: Lalu - He doesn't let a dull moment pass, does he? The RJD supremo may well be the deciding factor on which way the public mood sways, with surveys indicating that a substantial proportion of voters do not have a favourable opinion of his alliance with Nitish Kumar. Whether or not he emerges victorious, he has certainly provided much fodder to headline writers with the colourful terms with which he has castigated his rivals.

M: 'Modi, Modi, Modi'- No, that was not the Prime Minister's adaptation of 'entertainment, entertainment, entertainment'- Vidya Balan's line from the film The Dirty Picture. In his rallies, Modi repeatedly hit out at his opponents, saying that they focused their campaign on opposition to him rather than on a constructive theme.

N: Nitish- Nitish is up against his friend-turned-foe Narendra Modi, for which he has now allied with foe-turned friend Lalu Prasad Yadav. He has tried to maintain his image as a man of development, while leaving the more colourful verbal volleys to his allies.

O: Owaisi - The AIMIM leader Asaduddin Owaisi could be the surprise element in the Bihar election, with much riding on how his party affects the vote share in a state which has a significant Muslim population. His brother Akbaruddin has been accused of making inflammatory speeches, with a police case filed against him.

P: Paani aur Jawaani – NDA’s chief campaigner kept raising the issue of water and the youth all through his campaign. He said both were important for the development of Bihar.

Q: Quota – The NDA raised the issue of quota after the second phase of elections. It said the Mahagathbandhan plans to carve out a five percent quota for Muslims out the seats reserved for backward castes.

(From left) Lalu Prasad Yadv, Nitish Kumar and PM Narendra Modi in file photos. PTI

(From left) Lalu Prasad Yadv, Nitish Kumar and PM Narendra Modi in file photos. PTI

R: Raavan- The ten-headed mythological figure was a much-favoured reference, used by politicians on both sides of the ideological divide. While Jitan Ram Manjhi likened chief minister Nitish Kumar to the character from Ramayana, Lalu Prasad Yadav referred to Modi as a 'political Ravana.'

S: Shaitan – After realising the damage he had caused to the prospects of his alliance in the election by saying Hindus also ate beef, Lalu Yadav tried to make amends by saying Shaitan was sitting on his tongue while he said it. Prime Minister Modi made a mockery of it, remarking how did Shaitan find Lalu’s address.

T: Tantric – A video showing Chief Minister Nitish Kumar being blessed by a tantric started doing the rounds somewhere during the campaign. It turned out to be more than a year old. The tantric was also seen cursing Lalu Yadav.

U: Urban – Urban voters were critical to the NDA’s game plan in Bihar. They voted overwhelmingly for the alliance in 2014 general elections. They are impressed by Modi’s talk of development.

V: Vote bank – Politics in Bihar is all about vote banks. The RJD’s success earlier was attributed to the strong Muslim-Yadav backing behind him. Nitish is believed to have the Kurmi vote bank behind him. The BJP’s vote bank comprises the upper castes.

W: Women – Nitish has been trying develop women into a caste-neutral constituency in Bihar for long. They have been outnumbering men voters over the last few elections. Noticing his popularity among women, the NDA also sought to project a pro-women image for itself.

X: X factor – What will be the deciding factor in this election? Both alliances, equally matched in all respects, had been looking for that X factor that will turn the tide in their favour. It could the youth, women and even the issue of beef.

Y: Youth – Both alliances pandered to the youth. Prime Minister Modi enjoys huge traction among them. Nitish Kumar also commands respect of this section, who voted for the NDA in big numbers in 2014 elections. They may decide the fate of either alliance.

Z: ZZZZ - Month-long elections are really, really too long. They sap your energy, leave you in a state of fatigue. After the long campaign, it ought to be snooze time for all involved.


Published Date: Nov 08, 2015 05:32 pm | Updated Date: Nov 08, 2015 05:33 pm

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