Bihar elections are just around the corner and suddenly since last few months we are seeing a new face Pushpam Priya Choudhary – a London School of Economics Alumni on internet who openly declared herself as the Chief Minister candidate in Bihar Polls, upfront challenging Nitish Kumar. This is how her campaign started. As off now, her party known as the “Pluras Party” has already released a list of 40 candidates who would contest polls. Pushpam Priya Chaudhary herself is contesting from two seats in Bihar. ALSO READ | Why ‘Robinhood’ Gupteshwar Pandey’s Political Innings Shall Remain On Standby In Bihar Elections 2020
When we look at her on ground campaigns, social media trends and in media interviews, we can form an analogy with how Arvind Kejriwal started it all in Delhi alleging both BJP and Congress to be of no use. A similar pattern can be observed Pushpam’s speeches and campaigns as she quotes 30- years of misrule, declaring both National Democratic Alliance (NDA) and Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) of no use.
So, she clearly wants to be a third prominent face and as an “only” option to “Biharis” in the upcoming elections. Youth will always look for a change, especially in state like Bihar which is still a “Bimaru” state as per sayings.
Bihar has maximum number of migrant youth that travels across the globe for a better opportunity. Plurals have gained a good eye balls among these youth but how many will turn out to vote, especially in the Covid era, is itself a dicey question.
Point to note is that Bihar has never seen a single party govt post Mandal era. Even if we leave the current scenario of politics that says anti incumbency of Nitish Kumar, incompetent opposition of RJD, LJP running out of NDA but supporting BJP as an ally are the major factors that will shape the seat sharing and thus the results, Pushpam Priya Choudhary and her party can turn out to be a descent factor in vote shares across many constituencies.
Plurals will definitely attract new age voters that are considered to be BJP voters since 2014 elections. These are urban voters and women who voted for JD(U) after liquor ban in state. However, it might be a difficult deal for Plurals to get a fair share of vote percentage in rural areas. For both rural and the suburban areas, Plurals will still gave to gain grounds and come out with some out of the box strategy.
Since 2014, demand for Vikas (development) has been considered as politically correct answer for every election. In Bihar, Vikas might face anti incumbency for NDA govt. But will it be the only factor that Bihar will vote on? Absolutely NOT! Politics is multi polar with more loyal and traditional cast-based vote bank for parties than any state in the country.
This pattern is regular in every election since 1990 and looks like it will be no different this year. Outcasting the ‘caste’ in elections a difficult cup of tea for any political party, unlike Delhi where a new party did so. Even in UP where BJP did the same a common saffron agenda. For plurals and Pushpam Priya Choudhary it is necessary to break this loyal and traditional caste vote base of political parties to gain any success and honestly… it seems difficult.
Several believe that if Tejaswi Yadav can judged on the basis of his father, even Pushpam Priya Choudhary must answer some serious questions about his father and his party ideology. She can’t get away just by blaming and cursing NDA’s tenure when the fact is her father holds a constitutional post with the current govt.
Apart from campaigning, sloganeering and playing the blame game, it looks like her party does not have any substantial road map for the state. She needs to spare much more time on ground as for a change it has to be a public movement and in Bihar the public is still not ready to come out of caste, creed and religion based barriers when it comes to voting. For this massive mindset change, Pushpam Priya Choudhary must spend fair share of time with people of Bihar and create a strong vote base that is not dependent on any caste or religious calculations.
(Saurav Kumar Sinha is the President of Manthan Trust)
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