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Bihar election is a battle between ambiguity and certainty, hollow promises and practical policies.

Bihar Polls Is it morally right of the BJP to use PM Modi as the main campaigner Image: Narendra Modi FB page, and Shivam Setu via Wikimedia Commons
Voices Opinion Monday, October 05, 2015 - 12:56

By Priyanka Sisodiya (Priyanka Sisodiya is a member of CM Nitish Kumar’s campaign team at IPAC)

Since the declaration of the election last month, Bihar is being visited by every major political leader from the centre and other states. With multiple public gatherings across the state, every day there are new plans/schemes/policies being announced for the state. Political parties are well aware of the importance and impact of these elections. The Bihar elections will not only affect the state, but will have a deep impact on our country’s political environment. Thus, parties are rallying to win majority.

With promises flying in from every imaginable party, it is easy to gauge that while some have truth to them, many are simply ploys to garner votes for political gains. Those based in truth are not only giving voters information about policies, but for the first time ever, are also including concrete and minute details of the policies, from formulation, timeline to budgetary allocations. Thus, the voters are being spared the ambiguity of tall claims, and can make informed decisions.

This question of ambiguity versus uncertainty can also be seen between the choices of  leaders as the CM candidate.

This month the state will be hosting public rallies in massive numbers, as each major party is claiming to host around 500 such gatherings. Leaders will try to explain why their parties deserve to represent the people's mandate.  And, the voters are bound to ask - who are they voting for, how will this party/person contribute to their well-being?

There was a time when voters identified themselves with political parties based on a shared ideology and vision for the nation. However, lately a voter's political affiliation is shifting based on a political leader’s personality rather than the party. In such an environment, knowing one’s leader becomes the basic right of a voter. While the Grand Alliance consisting of JDU, RJD and INC has declared its CM candidate - Nitish Kumar, the NDA has brazenly refused to declare its CM candidate. Instead, the party is running the election in the name of the Prime Minister. We must ask ourselves, is it morally right to use an already elected representative to lure voters, when the face being used is never going to be directly responsible for the development of the state? On the other hand, we have CM Nitish Kumar, who has served the state for ten long years, and every citizen of the state has observed his work. In a survey reported by the Indian Express, Nitish Kumar is the most popular chief minister in India and the most popular leader in the state. To provide the voters with an opportunity to vote without being manipulated, instead of using the PM as an election campaigner, the NDA should declare their face for Bihar.

The BJP hasn’t just maintained anonymity about their CM candidate. The party has been consistently unclear and vague about its vision for the state.  Public assemblies organized by BJP are not being used for sharing their policies for the state. Instead, party leaders are trying to win votes from the marginalized section, by luring them with offers of free laptops, TV sets, sarees and more. These actions display contempt and disregard for democratic elections, voters, and their discretion to elect a government that takes up their cause.

The gap between the PM’s promises and delivery is another telling example of BJP’s ambiguity. The BJP is claiming to fight this election on two issues: development and, law and order. They are claiming that only their government can bring unimaginable growth to the state. It is interesting to note that while the BJP is making these tall ambiguous claims, the party that has formed governments in other Indian states, where it has failed to provide sustainable development or a safe environment. According to NCRB’s (National Crime Records Bureau) report, ‘Crimes in India-2014,’ the crime rate in Bihar is 174.2, which is lower than the national average of 229.2. Most of the BJP ruled states, compared to Bihar, have very high crime rates (Madhya Pradesh 358.5, Chhattisgarh 229.7, and Gujrat 213.3). These numbers show the gap between the BJP’s words and actions.

In the past ten years, the state of Bihar has developed unimaginably, out-performing many Indian states in numerous social and economic indicators; it is now ready for a new wave of reforms that CM Nitish Kumar ensures are his personal commitments. He popularly terms them Nitish Nishchay (Nitish's determination). Subdivided into seven sections, he has tried to create well researched and time bound policies with a bottom-up approach for different sections of Bihar.

The CM has promised to ensure 24 hours of electricity, tap water and the construction latrines for every household. He has promised the construction of pucca roads and covered drains inside every habitation. By promising to provide 35% reservation for women in all state government services, the CM is determined to give women their due share in the public space and workforce.

If he's elected, for the youth, his government will be creating multiple work opportunities. The state will be giving ‘unemployment allowance’ to that section of youth who are looking for jobs. The government will open many professional academic institutes so that students can get good quality higher education in their home state.  These are some parts of Nitish Kumar's clear vision for Bihar in the next five years. The timeline for achieving these goals has also been outlines; this transparency reflects his commitment towards keeping his voters informed.

In 2005, Bihar voted for “development with justice” over social identities, in 2015 we hope that they willvote for a leader who has not only a proven track record but is presenting a visible commitment towards the state. This 12th of October during the first phase of polls, when the citizens in Bihar will cast their votes; they will be left with two clear choices. The people’s mandate will reflect if voters have been able to identify the difference between hollow promises or practical policies.

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this articles are the personal opinions of the author. The News Minute is not responsible for the accuracy, completeness, suitability or validity of any information in this article. The information, facts or opinions appearing in this article do not reflect the views of The News Minute and The News Minute does not assume any liability for the same.

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