30 July, 2021

Hello Mic Check

There are a few contenders to the throne. And many pretenders. But can they dislodge the king of 15 years? All that's to know about the Bihar elections.

JD(U) campaign vehicles kitted out with giant screen TVs for virtual rallies
Photograph by PTI
Hello Mic Check

“Is baar Tejashwi tay hai, is baar Tejashwi tay.”

In the sunburnt and dusty heartland of Bihar, the foot-tapping campaign song of the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) plays on a loop, telling anyone caring to listen that the time has for come for Tejashwi Prasad Yadav to take charge of the state. Tejashwi, the chief ministerial candidate of the RJD-Congress alliance, is leading the Opposition’s charge against the mighty and combined forces of the ruling JD(U) and BJP. But that is a just a minor detail in the complex setting of election-bound Bihar, just one piece of the jigsaw that make up the political smorgasbord.

But this is an election like nothing Bihar has ever seen and not just because of the dark clouds of the Covid pandemic hanging over the democratic exercise. The last time the state voted to elect a new assembly, the talismanic Laloo Prasad was out on bail, the JD(U), RJD and Congress were together, Dalit icon Ram Vilas Paswan was alive and Sushant Singh Rajput was not a poll issue. Five years is a very long time in politics. And 15...

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