Bihar Verdict – Powerful Rebuff for Communal Forces

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Sangh Parivar had tried to stoke communal embers during the last six months but people were deaf to their polarizing campaign.

By Anish Ankur

More than anything else, the Bihar verdict should be seen as a firm rejection of RSS brand of polarising politics. Perhaps no comment about the outcome was more befitting than the Dalai Lama’s who held the verdict as the ‘insaniyat ki jeet’ (victory of humanity). The outcome has made people in Bihar draw a sigh of relief as a lot was at stake for the secular minded people of Bihar.
The RSS’ attempt to communalize the elections initially through low-intensity communal conflicts in several parts of Bihar was led by the top leadership of BJP itself. PM Narendra Modi went on record with a purported expose of Nitish Kumar’s advocacy of reservation for Muslims divesting quota allotted for the OBCs and MBCs. BJP national president Amit Shah issued a warning: “Fire crackers will go off in Pakistan if the BJP loses Bihar.” The BJP also came up with posters depicting a cow and a girl, accused the Grand Alliance of not doing enough to protect the cow mother even taking side with cow slaughterers. The Election Commission found two advertisements with communal undertone by BJP objectionable. The Commission had to issue instruction that no advertisement should be published without their prior consent.

Low Intensity Conflicts
The BJP’s game plan right from the beginning was to repeat the 2014 Parliamentary election formula of clubbing development with communal politics, which was being advanced through low-intensity communal conflicts in various parts of the State long before the actual campaigning started. For this purpose a large number of RSS cadres of Hindi-speaking states had been mobilized. Importance of RSS can be gauged from the fact that even during selection of candidates their internal surveys were taken into account. Some sitting BJP MLAs were denied ticket just because of adverse RSS feedback about them. Incidentally, most of the low-intensity communal conflicts that had erupted over a period of six months were in the area where the minorities have significant population.

During the run-up to the elections several places had witnessed communal polarization. In a very communally sensitive Bhagalpur, a dead pig was thrown at a mosque with the purpose of inciting minority community, but thanks to alertness of the administration no untoward incident happened. In the same way, in the minority dominated Kishanganj an idol of Kali was defaced which led to a very grave situation of communal conflict but people from both the communities restrained themselves till the police came and brought the situation under control.
People of Bihar were wise enough that they could see the political motive behind these incidents. As Nitish Kumar said in his first press conference after election verdict was out, “The BJP and its allies in the NDA have sought to cover up its anti-people mission by trying to cause communal division in the society. The Dussehara-Muharram season was sought to be exploited to create communal polarization. Timely intervention by the authorities thwarted these evil designs.”
24 Muslim MLAs
Muslim-bashing of the BJP got a befitting reply in this election. Despite the campaign against Muslims throughout the campaign, their representation in the current Bihar Assembly increased by five from 19 to 24. Four of the MLAs got ministerial berth in the new Nitish Kumar government. Strength of Muslim representation is gradually increasing from 15 in 2005 to 19 in 2010 and now 24. As election results had indicated Muslims voted decisively in favour of Nitish Kumar led Grand alliance.

Newly elected Muslim MLAs in Bihar Assembly:
Rashtriya Janata Dal:
Abdul Bari Siddiqui (Alinagar)
Md. Nawaz Alam (Arrah)
Abdus Subhan (Baisi)
Md. Nematullah (Barauli)
Faiyaz Ahmed (Bisfi)
Md. Ilyas Hussain (Dehri)
Faisal Rahman (Dhaka)
Faraz Fatimi (Keoti)
Dr. Abdul Ghafoor (Mahishi)
Shamim Ahmed (Narkatia)
Akhtarul Islam Shaheen (Samastipur)
Syed Abu Dojana (Sursand)
Janata Dal (United):
Sarfaraz Alam (Jokihat)
Mujahid Alam (Kochadhaman)
Sharfuddin (Sheohar)

Khurshid alias Firoz Ahmed (Sikta)
Naushad Alam (Thakurganj)
Indian National Congress:
Dr. Md. Jawaid (Kishenganj)
Abdul Jaleel Mastan (Amour)

Avidur Rahman (Arariah)
Md. Tauseef Alam(Bahadurganj)
Shakeel Ahmed Khan (Kadwa)

Md. Afaque Alam (Kasba)
Communist Party (ML)
Liberation: Mahboob Alam (Balrampur)