I am very excited to share with you that I have found the root cause of all our problems in Bihar, the key answer to all our woes? It’s election time in Bihar, the time to face people, the time to ask for votes to get elected to power. As you can imagine when we go to ask for the votes we have to tell our dear people why should they vote for us and what we are going to do for them if elected to power? In my humble opinion, this is very fundamental to any democratic process. It’s all about what’s in it for me, i.e., we will do ……… for you if you vote us to power. In light of this fundamental fact, I would like to draw your attention to the current election campaign in Bihar. If you have been following the current Bihar election campaign, then you may be aware of the statements/accusations/counter-accusations made by leaders of all the major political parties. From what we have read, let’s try to draw the answers to our basic question, ‘why should we vote for them’.
First, let’s try to get answers from our opposition parties. Almost all the opposition parties in Bihar have been unanimous in accusing the current administration of underutilizing the central funds, which are allocated to Bihar under many schemes and plans. From the statements made by Manmohan Singh, Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi and other leaders, it appears they are allocating thousands of crores to Bihar Govt. from the central funds and current NDA govt. is not fully utilizing those funds. Hence we should not vote for NDA but Congress. Let’s analyze the first part of this claim, that is, the current central govt. (or rather Congress-I) is allocating thousands of crores to Bihar, which has an underlying assumption that the central funds are party funds of Congress (I) and they allocate it to the states at their discretion, and if I may extrapolate it little further then should we assume that if we don’t vote for Congress (I) in this assembly election then they will stop allocating central funds to Bihar after these elections, correct? The second part of the claim is that the current Bihar govt. is not fully utilizing all the central funds. This is a very subjective claim, the utilization of funds can be criticized or justified at the same time depending on the criteria we would like to measure these utilizations against. With all due respect, let’s agree with this claim that current state govt. is not fully utilizing these funds. But how do we know that a Cong (I) led state govt. will utilize the central funds better than current govt. I am yet to read any specifics from Congress leaders on what would they would do differently to better utilize the central funds. They have told us that we have a problem, which we all know, but they have not told us what they would do differently to help us solve that problem, so going back to my fundamental question, we are yet to hear from any political leader on why we should vote them to power. Though they have released their election manifesto, neither their leaders are talking about what’s in that book nor our media is concerned to talk about that. May be we all have accepted the fact the manifesto has become merely a formality for the election. My conclusion is further reinforced by the fact that NDA has just released their election manifesto on the last day of election campaign for the first phase of election, as if manifesto was not important for the people who are going to vote for the first phase of election.
Now, let’s try to get answers from our ruling Party (NDA). Mr. Nitish Kumar, Mr. Sharad Yadav, Mr. Shushil Modi and other leaders from NDA have been constantly counter attacking the opposition parties and their allegations, instead of talking about what they would do differently than last five years so that we give them another chance. The most they are talking about is that we should give them another term to complete the development work they have started. So is it safe to assume that another five years term by NDA will give us a developed Bihar? We all wish that happens, but unfortunately we all know that it is not real. So just like opposition parties, we have no answer from the current administration on what would they do for us so to vote for them.
You may wonder where the Bhoot went. I have not mentioned Bihar’s bhoot so far. The main theme of this election is Bhoot (or past); no one talks about the future, though ironically they want us to hand them over our future. As per their claims, we should vote for one because others are bad or worst. The most surprising part of this campaign is that people like Manmohan Singh, Rahul Gandhi, and Nitish Kumar are making statements, which are all about past and finger pointing at each other; instead of sharing their ideas on how would they help in taking Bihar to the next level. Unfortunately, our bhoot or past is so powerful that no one wants to talk about the future. Perhaps they know that by talking about each other and their past, they all can avoid the most difficult question, i.e., our future. May be none of them knows how to make our future better and build a better Bihar, that is why they keep us entangled in their allegations and counter allegations.
To unshackle us from our bhoot or past, it is high time our press stops echoing political leaders allegations and counter allegations, and starts asking them pointed questions about our future, what would they do to make life of our fellow Biharis better, what would they do to help our kids stay within state and get same level of education they seek outside the state, what would they do to help our youth find employment within state, what would they do to stop the recurring floods in northern Bihar, the list is endless. On eve of this assembly election, I humbly request our media to help us alleviate our curse by forcing our leaders to start talking about our future and how do they intend making it better.
Jai Bihar, Jai Hind…
The views expressed by the author are personal.