If the coalition of Extremes, that is Janata Dal United and BJP, has been in power in Bihar for the last 15 years, the Coalitions of rejected politicians have cropped up just ahead of the state Assembly poll. While the National Democratic Alliance and the Grand Alliance are locked in a grim battle, there are at least three other alliances which are in the field this time. This is somewhat unusual phenomenon and sometimes even create suspicion.
Besides, there are a couple of individuals such as Pushpam Priya, a Britain-educated young woman who floated an outfit, Plurals, and projecting herself as the chief ministerial candidate. Lastly, there is Prashant Kishor who initially tried to remain in the news but has later disappeared from the scenes.
The first such alliance is of former Union minister Upendra Kushwaha’s Rashtriya Lok Samata Party, Mayawati’s Bahujan Samak Party, Asaduddin Owaisi’s All India Majlis-Ittehad-ul Muslimeen, Omprakash Rajbhar Suheldev Bhartiya Samaj Party and former Union minister Devendra Prasad Smajwadi Janata Dal Democratic. This combination is called Grand Democratic Secular Front, but the first two names came in the alliance later. Kushwaha only joined this alliance after being rejected by both the NDA and Grand Alliance. Curiously, Kushwaha is the chief ministerial candidate of this grouping.
Then there is the combination of Pappu Yadav’s Jan Adhikar party, Chandrashekhar Azad Ravan’s Azad Samaj Party and essentially Kerala-based Social Democratic Party. Like Hyderabad-based AIMIM the SDPI tries to appeal Muslim voters. Former external affairs minister Yashwant Sinha too showed some interest and launched Rashtriya Manch or National forum on June 28 last. But nothing much has been heard about him since them.
Analysts are of the view that these small fronts will have little impact on the overall results of the Bihar poll. But some Muslim social activists are a bit worried over the activities of AIMIM and SDPI in the Seemanchal belt of Bihar, which has substantial population of the community. Afzal Husain of the Bihar Rabita Committee, fear that the counter-polarisation caused by these Muslim outfit, especially AIMIM, may have some impact in the constituencies having sizeable Muslim population. The presence of figures like Owaisi in the election campaign is likely to help the BJP.
Others also share this view. Yet there are some youths who justify the presence of these parties and plead that there should be at least someone who should raise the voice of the community powerfully. The problem with these newly launched fronts is that they have no social base whatsoever and their parties are very weak across the state. They do not have even men to man the booths.