Wednesday, November 24, 2010

[ZESTCaste] Caste dynamics have taken a backseat: Nitish

Published: November 24, 2010 16:12 IST | Updated: November 25, 2010
02:45 IST Patna, November 24, 2010

Caste dynamics have taken a backseat: Nitish
Shoumojit Banerjee

PTI Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar at a press conference after the
JD(U)-BJP alliance won the State elections, in Patna on Wednesday.

Stating that caste has taken a backseat in electoral politics, Bihar
Chief Minister and Janata Dal (United) leader Nitish Kumar on
Wednesday said developmental politics, not caste dynamics, would
determine Bihar's course in the future.

"It is a victory won by the people of Bihar, and not of any single
person, party or alliance," Mr. Kumar told journalists at his
residence during the course of the counting process for the State
Assembly polls.

The NDA alliance won a landslide victory securing 206 Assembly seats,
with both the JD(U) and the Bharatiya Janata Party bettering their
performances in the October 2005 Assembly polls by bagging 115 and 91
seats respectively.

Stating that "governance governs everything," Mr. Kumar said the
public's verdict had proved that the legislator who delivered on the
ground secured votes.

Drastic voter surge

Noting the drastic voter surge in the elections, Mr. Kumar lauded the
tremendous response given by women voters and those from the backward
sections of society, while attributing the increase to the improved
law and order situation brought about by the present NDA government.

He said the public had come to realise the value of its vote, as
elections in the past were beset by voter apathy and booth-capturing


Mr. Kumar said he was pleasantly surprised by the overwhelming mandate
given by the people, adding: "This only increases our responsibilities
which we will conscientiously attempt to undertake." Stating that he
did not have "a magic wand," he said he would work harder during the
coming period to ensure that Bihar was a developed state by 2015.

Responding to questions on the future of the JD(U)-BJP alliance, Mr.
Kumar brushed aside any speculation of a possible rupture.

"Our ties with the BJP are old. In 2005, we fought the polls together
and had secured a solid mandate," he said. "When the work is good on
the ground, both parties equally stand to gain."

On the Congress campaign in Bihar during the polls, he said the
self-esteem of the State's public had been hurt with the Congress
dubbing the Central aid given to Bihar as "their party's money."

'A mystery'

The Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD)-Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) combine,
meanwhile, managed to secure barely 25 seats. RJD chief Lalu Prasad's
wife and Leader of the Opposition in the Bihar Assembly, Rabri Devi,
was trounced from the Raghopur and Sonepur Assembly seats by a huge
margin of more than 10,000 votes in each.

"The NDA landslide is a mystery, one which merits an inquiry," Mr.
Prasad said, even as he congratulated Mr. Kumar for his victory, but
refused to extend his wishes to the BJP.

Swearing in on Saturday

The newly-elected JD(U) and BJP legislators will hold independent
party meetings on Thursday, which will be followed by a joint party
meeting later in the day. The swearing-in of the new government will
take place on November 27.


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