Maggi is back on the shelves! But Bihar has more reasons to joy. The Mahagathbandhan has worked and Nitish's victory means more to the Biharis.
The stories are similar, but the journey different. The noodlemaker may have had to face criticism from veteran consumers, the FSSAI or the Indian authorities, but it has finally won the 5-month long battle with little changes.
Nitish's governance went through a similar phase, where he faced the ire from his own followers Jitan Ram Manjhi (who drifted from the party ideologies and focussed more on the chair, forming his own party and taking away a major chunk of the Dalit loyalists with him), from arch rival RJD chief Lalu Prasad Yadav (with or without the Mahagathbandhan) and the people's tempo (figuring out what they want-development or caste). Thus, shedding his ego, Nitish did what was best for him and the state. The alliance was formed and all the sections of the societies were looped in. Thus, the victory!
Nothing close to making a 2-minute Maggi noodle. BJP should have learnt its lesson by now!
Dealing with a complicated social structure
Bihar politics is based on a complicated social structure that deals with caste system everyday. Progress holds a backstage, but even that is necessary. So, Nitish chose the middle patha; with Lalu, he had the Yadav and mUslim followers, apart from his own Kurmi support. The Grand Alliance had to work.
BJP, on the other hand, was a beginner with little or no support at all. The infrastructure pitch could have worked, but only if RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat had kept his mouth shut.
Just ahead of the elections, he made a very controversial remark saying that it was time to re-look at the reservation policy. A self-goal, BJP failed at all levels in defnding itself. And the results are visible. 60% of the BIhar electorate that comprises backward classes immediately knew what to do.
Lesson 1: Shut the likes of Mohan Bhagwat up!
Clean image versus name calling
To mess up the situation even further, NDA chose to name-calling Lalu Prasad Yadav and the alliance leaders. The Yadavs were angry no doubts, but the middle class were upset too as Nitish's clean image could not be linked to taint and people knew that the leader is committed to development and with sincerity. Hence, BJP's special Rs 1.25 lakh crore package also failed.
Lesson 2: Judge what the people want and do not assume. And do not take them for granted. Do not underestimate the understanding of the Biharis and do not target their leaders.
Who's the CM?
The biggest blunder that NDA did was not to announce their Chief Ministrial candidate, in a way wanting people to blindly support them. Certainly, people cannot vote someone who they do not know. As they say, a known enemy is better than an unknown friend and Biharis did what they thought best. Mr Amit Shah, please be careful the next time.
BJP can choose to take these lessons as a learning process or it can sulk in the corner ruing that the Biharis are castist and do not see progress. The choice is their's.