In the general atmosphere of gloom due to scams all over, Bihar has given the country an occasion to smile. By re-electing the JDU-BJP coalition led by Nitish Kumar by an overwhelming 206 out of 243 seats, the much maligned people of Bihar have shown that they know how to reward good governance and genuine efforts to bring about development. It is almost a mortal shock to all those who had condemned the state to the casteist politics of the worst kind and at the same time had been its biggest beneficiaries. With the opposition badly mauled, rather decimated, it is a great opportunity for Nitish and his allies to set Bihar firmly on the pathway to economic and social development.
There is, however, the danger of the chief minister beginning to suffer from illusions of grandeur and invincibility, after all it is not every day that some one wins five out of every six seats and that in a large and populous state like Bihar. Rajiv Gandhi had won four out of every five in the 1984 Lok Sabha election but that actually was a victory for her assassinated mother, his was clearly a sympathy vote. While in power, Rajiv floundered badly because of inexperience and the singularly bad advice from his confidantes. Nitish does not have to fear on those counts, he is a seasoned politician as against Rajiv’s accidental politician and has come to know his state as the back of his palm in the five years as chief minister and above all he has a mind of his own. His decision to keep Narendra Modi entirely out of the electioneering and not to share the dais with the BJP patriarch Lal Krishna Advani looked very harsh, even counter-productive, but he stood his ground then and now stands completely vindicated.
Let us, all Indians, wish Nitish success and Bihar five more years of good governance and speedy economic growth and social development. If Bihar progresses, so will India.