Given the current political dispensation and Bihar’s electoral history, the chances of Jungle Raj coming back are extremely slim.

Four reasons why Jungle Raj will not return to BiharImage: Nitish Kumar FB page
Voices Opinion Saturday, November 21, 2015 - 23:26

Soon after BJP supporters came to terms with the party’s shocking defeat in Bihar, they launched an attack on the Mahagathbandan by whipping up fears of the return of Jungle Raj, an epithet for the massive lawlessness and uncontrolled crimes which dominated Bihar during Lalu’s rule from 1990 to 2005.

While some abused Biharis for being illiterate and anti-national, others posted links of crimes to prove that within days of MGB’s win, Jungle Raj had already returned.

Political observers and analysts who had vouched for Nitish were also skeptical of Lalu’s return, a sentiment many journalists had encountered while covering the election and talking to voters.

However, given the current political dispensation and Bihar’s electoral history, the chances of Jungle Raj coming back are extremely slim. Here are four reasons why:

Information and social media age: Lalu Yadav’s Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) had ruled Bihar from 1990 to 2005, when internet in India was at an extremely nascent stage and communication channels weren’t really developed. It is 2015 now. News about incidents and crimes get viral within a matter of hours. There has been huge increase in the number of TV channels and media outlets. Smartphone usage has gone up significantly. Sting videos shot on smart phones can embarrass governments easily. Therefore, as compared to the 1990s, it is much easier to expose incidents and bring out facts in the public.

Lalu's children under scanner: Lalu wants to promote his children, Tej Pratap Yadav, Tejaswi Pratap Yadav and Misa Bharti, both in the state and at the national stage. With Tejaswi being sworn in as the Deputy Chief Minister and Tej Pratap allotted a cabinet position, they will be under the scanner of the media as well as the people of Bihar. Furthermore, they are quite young and have just started their political careers. Hence, they cannot afford to have any blot or develop negative reputations so early. Return of Jungle Raj will have a disastrous impact on their careers.

Lalu will not squander away another opportunity: Before forming their alliance, Nitish Kumar and Lalu Yadav must have discussed several issues, and in all certainty, Jungle Raj as well. Bihar voted out RJD in two successive elections (2005 and 2010) and confirmed that it won’t tolerate Jungle Raj anymore. Lalu knew that Nitish's track record and clean image will help the alliance, and without him, it would have been impossible for RJD to make a comeback. It is difficult to believe that a clever politician like Lalu would make the mistake of squandering away what could be the last opportunity for his party to win over Bihar.

National ambition 2019: Within hours of the Bihar election results being declared, Lalu announced that he will travel across India and build an anti-Modi coalition to take on him in 2019, which clearly reveals his intention to try for a larger role in the Centre. His national ambition also means that he will let Nitish govern Bihar all by himself, except using his clout to favor his children and few MLAs. With just three and a half years left for the Lok Sabha 2019 elections, return of Jungle Raj will dent his chances and ability to negotiate for the PM’s candidacy with other regional parties. 

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