March 1, 2021

With Poor Report Card Since 1989 Polls, Can Rahul’s Newfound Curiosity in Bihar Change Cong’s Fortune?



Rahul Gandhi held a digital assembly with senior functionaries of the Bihar Congress earlier this month assuring his full time within the campaigning for the Bihar meeting elections and assertively avowed to ‘struggle the elections and type the federal government’ in Bihar.

Rahul’s declaration has introduced into sharp focus the pivotal position the Congress is more likely to play within the opposition camp within the upcoming state meeting elections. He exhorted senior get together leaders to take all of the essential selections concerning polls, begin working for elections and try to construct a brand new authorities in Bihar.

His assertions gave ample indication that Rahul, who was hitherto reluctant in even giving appointments to senior leaders, is now partaking himself and even making methods for the get together.

The upshot of his efforts will probably be seen within the run as much as polls however the Congress’s strategic transfer in the direction of prominence as an impartial get together and essential ally of the Grand Alliance is certainly a matter of debate among the many Congress and political circles in Bihar.

The Congress, which dominated the state for over 40 years since independence, stands sidelined, fractured and out of energy in the present day whereas the political events which had been floated after 1990 have been in energy in Bihar for the previous three many years.

The Congress has remained out of energy in Bihar ever for the reason that final Congress chief minister late Jagannath Mishra handed over the reins of Bihar to Lalu Prasad Yadav on March 10, 1990 after a crushing defeat within the 1990 state meeting elections.

In between, the grand-old get together has been in energy independently or as coalition chief on the Centre in addition to in some states however within the Hindi heartland of Bihar and Uttar Pradesh, which was once its citadel as soon as, it has by no means assumed energy prior to now three many years.

The explanation behind such decline is the truth that it had opted to play second fiddle to the regional satraps like Lalu Prasad Yadav and Mulayam Singh Yadav and by no means tried to face by itself toes and are available out of the shadows of the regional leaders.

In Bihar, regardless of its poor electoral efficiency after 1990, the Congress has remained in energy for temporary intervals as a part of the alliance governments underneath Rabri Devi and later underneath Nitish Kumar however they had been fortuitous stints not achieved by itself by means of laborious work and with folks’s help to the get together as such.

Sarcastically, the Congress needed to serve underneath chief ministers like Lalu Prasad Yadav and Nitish Kumar, who had been byproducts of the JP motion, which derived its ideological sustenance then on the fundamental philosophy of anti-Congressism.

The electoral efficiency of the Congress has been awfully poor since 1989 Lok Sabha elections primarily as a consequence of its alleged failure in containing the notorious Bhagalpur riots and its misconceived opposition to quota politics after implementation of the Mandal Fee report after 1990.

Whereas the Muslims, which had been solidly behind it, abandoned it after the Bhagalpur riots in 1988-89, the Backward Castes and the Dalit group deserted the Congress as a consequence of unwarranted opposition by a bit of its leaders to the reservation coverage for the Backward Castes introduced by the then V P Singh authorities.

The violent strife between the Maoists and armies of landlords in South-Central Bihar fanned by folks in energy within the post-1990 interval led to sharp division of castes with higher castes dealing with the brunt by the hands of the middleman castes and the Dalit group.

Steadily, the higher castes shifted their loyalties in the direction of the BJP, which served as a political platform with its fastidiously crafted technique of balancing quota politics with anti-Laluism.

With sharp fall in its vote base as a consequence of direction-less politics of the then get together leaders dealing with the affairs of Bihar, the Congress turned politically insignificant as its electoral efficiency touched the bottom ebb after 1990.

After independence when the primary normal elections had been held in 1951-52, the Congress had secured 239 meeting seats – the very best ever – out of 322 seats it contested within the 330-member then Bihar meeting. Shri Krishna Singh turned the primary Chief Minister and Anugrah Narayan Singh turned the Deputy Chief Minister.

The Congress had received 72.42 per cent of whole seats and garnered 41.38 per cent votes whereas the opposition Socialist Get together may win solely 23 meeting seats out of 266 seats it had contested with 18.11 per cent votes.

The world of Bihar was decreased barely by switch of minor territories to West Bengal in 1956 underneath States Reorganisation Act, 1956. Due to this fact, the variety of meeting constituencies in Bihar was decreased from 330 in 1951 to 318 in 1957 elections.

The Congress maintained its sway albeit with gradual and minor falls in its tally each time until the 1967 meeting elections. In 1957, it contested 312 out of the full 318 meeting seats and received 210 seats with 42.09 per cent votes. The opposition Praja Socialist Get together (PSP) contested 222 seats however received solely 31 seats securing 16.01 per cent votes.

In 1962 polls, the Congress received 185 meeting seats with 41.35 per cent votes. Its tally declined additional because the get together received 128 seats with 33.09 per cent votes within the 1967 meeting elections, which additionally witnessed the gradual development of the Socialists because the Sangathan Socialist Get together received 68 meeting seats.

Within the 1972 meeting elections, the Congress gained a bit successful 167 seats and the Communist Get together of India changing into the runners up for the primary time even with a meagre 35 meeting seats.

The interval between 1972 and 1977 was tumultuous for the Congress because it witnessed three chief ministers in a row reflecting upon the ability wrestle inside the get together. After Congress’ electoral victory, Kedar Pandey was sworn in because the Chief Minister however he was changed by Abdul Ghafoor, who confronted the JP motion in 1974.

Thereafter, Jagannath Mishra turned the Chief Minister and it was underneath his rule that inner Emergency was clamped on June 25, 1975 within the nation solely to be lifted in 1977 when elections had been introduced.

The interval after JP motion and Emergency noticed the emergence of Socialists underneath the banner of Janata Get together, which threw the Congress out of energy within the nation in addition to in Bihar. The Janata Get together received 214 out of 311 seats it contested whereas Congress received solely 57 seats dropping 110 seats in Bihar.

The Janata Get together, nonetheless, couldn’t retain energy for a full five-year time period forcing elections in 1980. The Congress then led by Indira Gandhi, technically referred to as Congress-I, bounced again with 169 meeting seats and Jagannath Mishra turned the Chief Minister as soon as once more. He continued on the put up until August 1983 and was changed by Chandrashekhar Singh.

The Congress continued its electoral sway within the 1985 meeting elections with 196 meeting seats and 39.30 per cent votes. However the energy wrestle inside the get together noticed frequent adjustments of chief ministers as Bindeshwari Dubey was changed by Bhagwat Jha Azad adopted by Satyendra Narayan Sinha and Jagannath Mishra.

It was throughout this era that the notorious Bhagalpur riots broke out when Satyendra Narayan Sinha was the Chief Minister. The riots coupled with Bofors scandal, Punjab terrorism and LTTE goof-up had its deleterious influence on Congress’ efficiency within the 1989 Lok Sabha elections because it may win solely 4 out of 54 Lok Sabha seats giving method to Janata Dal, which fashioned the federal government with V P Singh because the Prime Minister.

The Congress additionally suffered substantial loss within the subsequent meeting elections in 1990 with its tally sliding from 196 seats to 71 seats. The Janata Dal received 122 of the 324-member meeting heralding the emergence of Lalu Prasad Yadav on the electoral firmament of Bihar.

The slide that started in 1989 and 1990 elections nonetheless continues. The Congress received 29 seats out of the 320 it contested in 1995 meeting polls and 23 out of 324 seats it contested in 2000 meeting elections.

Within the February 2005 meeting elections, the Congress needed to considerably lower the variety of seats it contested to 84 because it has reached electoral alliance with the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD). It received solely 10 seats garnering solely 5 per cent votes. Within the 2005 October-November meeting elections, it once more contested in alliance with RJD on 51 seats and received solely 9 seats with 6.09 per cent votes.

In 2010 Meeting polls, the get together as soon as once more contested from all of the 243 constituencies however it may win solely four seats with 8.38 per cent votes. In 2015, it contested from 41 seats and received 27 seats in alliance with RJD and JD(U).

For Rahul Gandhi, turning across the Bihar Congress and regaining its presence appears to be a frightening activity because it lacks a charismatic chief who may match the stature of Lalu Prasad or Nitish Kumar. It must look past the erstwhile Higher Caste-Dalit-Muslim method and evolve a social method whereby every caste is represented proportionately as an alternative of piggyback Lalu’s vote financial institution.