21 January, 2021

The Dominos Are Set

If the BJP fails in the polls, it could have long-range effects

The Dominos Are Set

Bihar, on the eve of the polls, is a carnival of hoardings, a cacophony of speeches, a collation of rallies, a stream of allegations and counter-allegations. Beneath this fervid electoral energy, there is at stake not only the future of Bihar but also, in a sense, the future political narrative of India. For the BJP, a Bihar win would prove an end­or­sement of Narendra Modi’s brand of politics, a doorway to victories in the polls to follow in Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal and Assam. For the JD(U) and its allies, the RJD and the Congress, victory will signal the first roadblock to the Modi rollercoaster. It will also signal the beginning of changes in the BJP and colour the results of the 2019 general elections.

In the 2014 general elections, the BJP and its allies of the NDA together won 31 of the 40 seats in Bihar. (The BJP itself won 22.) But things have changed dramatically in 2015. First, Modi’s image isn’t what it was in 2014, when an effectively planned and expensive, hi-tech campaign had presented him as a prince charming riding an...



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