Thursday, November 25, 2010

Bihar assembly polls, 2010

Nitish Kumar's landslide victory in the Bihar polls comes in the wake of a committed performance in his previous term as Chief Minister. That the people reposed their faith and hope a second time is an acknowledgment of the processes that his government has put in place - working for making the state power sufficient, developing anti-corruption laws, doing away with caste, attracting newer & safer investments, etc. Women empowerment and education has been another big factor - girls have been provided with bicycles to reach schools !
Such instances of leaders winning successive elections are not uncommon though. The huge margin of 206 out of 243 seats kind of mirrors the achievements of the Left Front in West Bengal in 2006, when it garnered 235 out of 294 seats. Such victories often the ride the wave of people's hope for better governance and development. But, as it has turned out for the CPM, since then they have lost the 2008 rural polls, the 2009 Lok Sabha polls and the KMC elections earlier this year. Nitish Kumar should do well to learn from Bengal, how people's hopes from a leader can turn to anger and frustration if promises are not delivered.
Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee's government started well in 2006, with large investment and capital being attracted. Investors responded well. IT zones, chemical hubs, steel plants, car factories, etc. were planned. But subsequently, the government somehow seemed to falter and failed to deliver on most of the promises of development. That Mamata Banerjee opposed several measures is no excuse - she only did what she has done earlier too ! Also, inability to keep the party away from the government administration has played a major role in the reversal of fortunes. Nitish Kumar, however, has so far been quick to admit that the margin of victory places on him a great responsibility. In his own words, the victory is for the people; what he has got is a very tough job.

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