Nitish Kumar, the Bihari diaspora felt, deserved a third chance but they seemed cautious over the comeback of Lalu Yadav.
“Nitish Kumar is honest. He is sincere. Bihar has seen maximum infrastructure development in his tenure. I am hopeful that he will carry forward his good work,” said cardiologist Dr Ashok Seth, who was born and brought up in Bhagalpur, Bihar.
Former foreign secretary Muchkund Dubey said the development agenda has been exaggerated by both sides-the JDU-RJD alliance and NDA partners. “In the name of development, most parties pursue a pro-corporate agenda these days. I am still happy for the JDU-RJD alliance’s landslide victory as it will check the BJP from pursuing its communal agenda and assertion of majoritarianism,” he said.
Dubey added that after retirement, from the Indian Foreign Services, he has worked with the government in Bihar on several issues, including improving the education system.
Biharis constitute nearly 31% of Delhi’s population. They are the backbone of the state’s work force and many of them are in influential positions.
Suraj Yadav, professor of history at Swami Shraddhanand College, Delhi University, is from Madhepura in Bihar. He believes people in his state wanted change but BJP had its own notions of caste and corruption. “Just when Mohan Bhagwat’s quota remark came, it was understood that BJP’s policy in Bihar would be to rearrange the system of existing reservations there. The whole issue of corruption was not touched by Modi. It was all about corruption and black money of Congress,” he said. “At least 45 tickets were given to criminals or people linked with criminals. While campaigning, Modi did not utter a single word about the fodder scam as one of their candidates (Madhepura) was closely linked with the scam.”
While some people are expecting the return of ‘goondaraj’, Yadav said everyone has learnt a lesson. “We all know why Lalu Yadav was kept in the background during the campaign. The same mistake will not get repeated,” he said.
Another professor, Rajesh Jha, who is joint secretary, DU’s Teachers Association, said the win was significant, especially when there is an environment of intolerance in the county. “BJP’s defeat is also a reflection of what Modi is working on and how he is trying to concentrate power at one place. In a larger political scenario, the issues of secularism, minority rights and inclusive growth will be taken up in Bihar. In the last few years, Bihar has improved,” said Jha, who belongs to Madhubani.
At the other end of the economic spectrum, the rickshaw-pullers in Delhi who are from Bihar have their reasons to enjoy. “Nitish has done a lot of developmental work. This time people have chosen him for that. Also, because he was aligned with Lalu Yadav, he got the votes of Yadavs,” said Laldhar Paswan from Motihari.
Another rickshaw-puller, who has been in Delhi for the past five years, said, “I have lived in Patna all my life. I have seen the condition of Bihar when Lalu Yadav was CM and when Nitish Kumar was in power. People voted for development and Nitish has become the face of development in the state.” But Badri Mahto, a resident of Patna, is upset that Nitish joined hands with Lalu. “He had to take the Yadavs’ vote bank and, therefore, they joined hands. I just hope that Nitish doesn’t allow Lalu to dominate him,” said Mahto.
Meanwhile, in JNU, students celebrated by distributing sweets and taking out a march from Ganga dhaba. “Since we all are Pakistanis, we are celebrating,” said V Lenin Kumar, former JNUSU president, sarcastically. Recently, JNU had been criticised by RSS.