Some friends want me to write a piece on Bihar elections. I used to write on Bihar once but haven't done so in a long time. But since I am in Bihar, I will write a thread on #Biharpolitics and upcoming #BiharElections 1/n
What happens when electoral politics runs out of discourse? What when politics becomes the summation of pure numbers? One could never imagine that Bihar's politics would be this derived of a meta narrative as it seems to be this time. 2/n
I still remember the time when 'development' was the new discourse in the regime first term of CM Nitish Kumar. There was work being done. Roads being built. New schemes were being launched. There was an air of positivity. There was talk of governance on the roads. 3/n
Government offices in Bihar were full of young consultants from Oxford, Harvard and all the fancy places you can imagine. Social assertion of deprived sections was a part of this development discourse. A new vote bank. Maha Dalits. What happened? What went wrong? 4/n
Well, politics happened. And egos took over every discourse that was present in the state. It wouldn't be an overstatement to say that Bihar political discourse in the last fifteen years is a reflection of the inner monologue that runs within CM Nitish Kumar. 5/n.
The narratives were changed superficially. When he went with the BJP, it was for development. When he went with RJD, it was for secular politics and social assertion. The narratives were only on the surface. None of it went beyond the promises of electoral politics. 6/n
What really happened on the ground. In the next two terms, development slowed down. Although there were still new roads and middle class employees were paid on time, which made them look at dev. differently. The Maha Dalit politics slowed down. Schemes remained on paper. 7/n
Not everything was gloomy though. There were still mid day meals being served in schools and cycles given to young girls. For a very poor state like Bihar, even a little has electoral benefits. You might not gain a lot but you will definitely retain many of your voters. 8/n
But what happens when there is lack of concrete political discourse at the state level. Development is vague, especially because it's retrospective and depends on your societal position. Let me tell you what I think happens. 9/n
Politics becomes arithmetic. That has happened to Bihar over the last decade. Ask any informed person at a tea stall in Bihar and he will give you the breakdown. Every party has a caste constituency. And it's unlikely there would be much shift within those constituencies. 10/n
There can be shift in parties. They can change alliance. There have been murmurs about where would LJP go who still hold a considerable sway among their caste constituency. But there is nothing big enough to change power dynamics in Bihar. 11/n
BJP has created new caste constituencies in Bihar over the last decade or so with its national politics. The growing support from sections of OBC has made the party stronger. But has it made it strong enough to go all on its own? Numerically in terms of caste, NO. 12/n
So it will rely on Nitish Kumar and others to deliver the numbers home. The fact that the alliance in its current avataar has the numbers to win makes the politics predictable. And boring. Although analysts sitting in Delhi still find things to make it interesting. 13/n
Of course, there is always the option for BJP to go on its own based on its 'national agenda'. But I don't think they will take the risk right now. There have also been speculative pieces on how the pandemic will effect electoral results and blah blah. 14/n
Dudes like that should come to Bihar and see how afraid people are of the PANDEMIC in Bihar. Lol. 100 people died in a week due to lightning just a few weeks ago. There is flood in many part of Bihar. We don't have a health system. People just die here. Like that. 15/n
Sorry for the digression. But what I wanted to say is that Unless BJP decides to dump Nitish Kumar (highly unlikely), the electoral politics of Bihar is going to be boring and predictable. And without any discourse. 16/n
And by the way, all the allies you see being hyper active these days on both sides, they are just doing things to get more seats to fight. That's the only game here on the table. But please go ahead and write a speculative piece on how it's going to change Bihar politics. 17/n
As a Bihari, I am really heartbroken with the course that Bihar's politics has taken. But Biharis move on. They always do. Remember people writing speculative pieces on how migrants returning would change Bihar's politics. Well, they have all gone back to cities. So that's that.
You can follow @gumnaam_musafir.
Tip: mention @twtextapp on a Twitter thread with the keyword “unroll” to get a link to it.

Latest Threads Unrolled: