Patna, Nov 9: The much discussed and debated election at Bihar is over and the Grand Alliance or the Mahaghatbandan has emerged victorious.
While many analysts say that the writing was on the wall, none imagined that the Grand Alliance would win by such a huge margin.
However, what is more surprising is the revival of the Congress in the state of Bihar where it won 27 seats which without a doubt is a major come back for the party. [Updates: Bihar Assembly Elections 2015 Results]
Since the rise of OBC politics in the state of Bihar, the Congress has been on a constant decline since the 1990s. The sagging support to the party since the 1990s had even put a major question mark on the very existence of the party in the state of Bihar.
However, on Sunday all that changed and with 27 seats, the party appears to have revived itself. However, the question is what went right for the Congress? It made the right move in entering into the alliance along with the JD(U) and the RJD and this paid off for them.
The transfer of votes from its alliance partners in the seats that the Congress contested also went right for the party. More importantly, the Congress sought votes in the name of Nitish Kumar and not Sonia Gandhi or Rahul Gandhi and this was a well planned strategy as Bihar finally voted for a leader who would be in the action on the ground.
Seeking votes in the name of Nitish Kumar:
If one looks at the manner in which the grand alliance went about their seat sharing it can be said that it was an exercise which was more than perfect.
When the Congress was given 40 seats to contest in Bihar, many within the party were themselves surprised.
The distribution of tickets too came as a surprise to many within the Congress who called the candidates as, "on loan candidates."
However, the Congress during its campaign realized that this was an election which was centric around many local issues and there was no point in going national.
Every Congress candidate made more references to Nitish Kumar and his candidature as the Chief Minister.
There was very little reference to Sonia or Rahul Gandhi during the election speeches. Time and again the candidates spoke about the development model of Nitish Kumar for Bihar.
This strategy paid off well for the Congress and analysts say. Moreover the Congress without a local face realized that the best bet was to seek votes in the name of the tried and tested Nitish Kumar.
This was a conscious decision by the Congress which paid rich dividends. There was no local leader and without a committed vote bank, the Congress got it right in rooting for Nitish Kumar rather than try and ride on their own leaders.
Congress strategists during the elections maintained that the best bet was Nitish Kumar. They were after all in the midst of parties which had several issues to bank upon.
The BJP at first focused on the development model and later beef politics. Nitish Kumar banked on his own popularity in the state while Lalu Prasad Yadav sealed it with the Yadav and Muslim combination.
What the Bihar verdict does for the Congress:
The Congress has much to gain from the Bihar verdict. Tottering with hardly 5 seats in the past, the jump to 27 is a major feat for the party. While it would have a voice in Bihar, it also gets a bigger voice in the national level.
The party which has faced constant defeat since the 2014 Lok Sabha elections will now be a rejuvenated force and it will also enthuse its workers ahead of the several upcoming elections including the one at Uttar Pradesh.
For the time being, it would give the party more voice to fight against the Narendra Modi government.