#BiharElections2020: House of Cards in Bihar Elections

The Bihar elections due to take place at the end of the month in October have all the elements of the web series ‘House of Cards’.

‘House of Cards’ is a popular political thriller web series based on the 1989 novel of the same name by Michael Dobbs. House of Cards received positive reviews and several award nominations, including 33 Primetime Emmy Award nominations. The series deals with themes of ruthless pragmatism, manipulation, betrayal, and power. If you are a political aficionado and haven’t watched it yet, I recommend you should.

The Bihar political and elections landscape currently has all the ingredients of the potboiler series. The alliance partners don’t trust each other and all of them want to retain / regain power at any cost.

Initial polls show though NDA is expected to make a comeback, Chief Minister Nitish Kumar is facing a lot of public wrath over mishandling of COVID, floods and migrant crisis. His popularity is on the decline.

Many BJP supporters and sympathizers feel that the party could win the elections without JDU in alliance. Nitish is battling severe anti-incumbency. Manjhi’s HAM has returned to the NDA fold. Upendra Kushwaha after struggling to get a respectable number of seats to contest in MGB has left the group and formed an alliance with Mayawati’s BSP.

However BJP is not so confident of its victory without Nitish. They have announced him as NDA’s CM candidate despite reservations of partner Paswan. Party doesn’t trust Nitish. They know he is a wily fox. If BJP dumps him, Nitish could again join Lalu’s RJD and hand Modi-Shah a blow similar to 2015.

RJD’s Muslim Yadav (MY) votebank of 31% plus Nitish’s standalone vote share of 12%-15% is a potent combination.

Though, BJP has announced Nitish as NDA’s CM candidate, Nitish knows what BJP is capable of. It could be planning to do a Thackeray on Nitish. JDU needs to ensure that it gets more seats than BJP to have a wajib claim on CM chair.

BJP, on the other hand, hopes to get many more seats than JDU riding on Nitish’s unpopularity, Modi’s charisma and TINA factor. The two allies clearly have a trust deficit factor amongst themselves. Is the BJP planning to do a Shiv Sena on JDU post the election results?

Then there is another player, Paswan’s LJP. Chirag Paswan, son of Cabinet minister Ram Vilas Paswan, who is also called as mausam vaigyanik, is spelling venom on Nitish Kumar. The two have had heated exchanges over the past few months.

Chirag was demanding 42 seats, while Amit Shah was willing to give him only 27 as per reports. Nitish is willing to concede him not even a single seat. It is asking BJP to give LJP seats from its quota.

Now it’s official, Chirag, is not part of this alliance in Bihar. LJP will put up candidates against JDU and Manjhi but not BJP. He is angry with Nitish and not Modi and Shah. He has even said that BJP and LJP will form government post polls. This is getting interesting.

Who is fuelling this fire, instigating Chirag Paswan to rebel, contest alone and put up candidates against JDU? Is it the BJP from the back pulling the strings? By doing so, BJP would ensure JDU gets far less seats than BJP, thus forcing Nitish, to vacate CM chair on moral grounds.

Who said politics is clean, it is so murkier!

Tejaswi Yadav is also having trust issues with his partners. In a tight contest, and if there is a hung assembly, nobody knows what these smaller parties could do. Manjhi, who was earlier with NDA and then joined MGB was forced to leave the alliance.

Upendra Kushwaha who was a cabinet minister in Modi 1.O and later joined MGB was unhappy as Tejaswi was insisting Kushwaha’s candidates contest on the symbol of RJD or  INC. This is to prevent hopping post polls in a hung assembly situation.

Is it all so crystal clear? No.

Tejaswi eased Kushwaha out of MGB in the hope that he joins a Third Front and cuts into JDU vote bank. Both Nitish and Upendra enjoy the support of Koeris and Kushwaha community which accounts for 8% of the population of the state.

Congress which is part of MGB doesn’t trust Tejaswi either. It was in two minds whether to back Tejaswi as CM candidate of alliance. It was unsure whether Tejashwi was capable of leading the alliance. Finally it did, but the party’s constant flip – flop on this point annoyed Tejaswi.

Congress was doing this so that it can extract more seats from RJD. Earlier it was expected that RJD would contest 160 odd seats, leaving 40 for Congress and 40 for HAM, RLSP and VIP. With HAM out and RLSP on the way out, Congress was worried that Tejaswi may gulp these seats and not give them to Congress. After all, Congress believes it has a good base among Muslims in the state. It finally ended up with 70 after a lot of bickering.

The day of seat announcement of MGB had all elements of drama. VIP’s Sahani announced from stage that he was stabbed in the back by Tejaswi, he was promised 25 seats and Deputy CM chair, but was not given what was promised. This created a lot of ho hallah in the press conference and he left in anger.

As per Crowdwisdom360, NDA is marginally ahead at this time on google trends. Google Search has been accurate 70% of the time.

The Bihar elections drama will continue unabated for the next one month. So fasten your seat belts, grab your popcorn, watch House of Cards (Bihar Version), and enjoy…

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