Rashtriya Janta Dal (RJD) on Sunday celebrated its 24th foundation day as Lalu Prasad Yadav’s sons Tejswi Yadav and Tej Pratap Yadav led party workers in a bicycle rally to protest against the petrol prices. While RJD bakes in the glory of the foundation of a party that seemingly has only filled the Yadav clans coffers with inundated wealth and money, the people of Bihar are looking at the whole shindig with a side-eye.
After all, 24 years ago, a party was founded that spelled doom for Bihar and its fortunes in the coming years. The legacy has only gone shoulder to shoulder with the emergence of Nitish Kumar. The ‘Sushan Babu’ will also complete 15 years in the state as a Chief Minister in November, and together, both these leaders- Lalu Yadav and Nitish Kumar are responsible for pushing the development locomotive of Bihar six decades back in their three decades of misrule.
Lalu and the painful memories of Jungle raj
Born at Phulwaria in Bihar to Kundan Rai and Marachhiya Devi. A bachelor of Law and Political Science graduate, Lalu single-handedly brought the fortunes of Bihar down with his inefficient and corruption filled governance.
His dreaded and horrible fifteen-year rule in Bihar is often termed as Jungle Raj, which simply implies lawlessness. Bihar lived in the tyranny of Lalu from 1990 to 2005, as he and his wife Rabri Devi took turns to stomp the future of Biharis.
State-backed killings, kidnapping rackets, the Bahubali culture—all were pretty common for Bihar under Lalu’s tumultuous dictatorship.
Lalu’s vision from the starting was very clear that was to satisfy his vote base by using all the dirty tricks available in the book whether it be through appeasement politics or instilling fear in the people.
The RJD founder stayed in the political picture of Bihar with his party using the support of Yadavs and Muslims. Lalu never bothered to look after the welfare of common people.
Currently, the RJD supremo is in prison for all his many revolutionary deeds. Out of the many scams that he committed or have been accused of, the Bihar Fodder scam duped the exchequer of whooping ₹9.4 billion.
Sushan Babu or Lalu 2.0?
Nothing has changed much under ‘Sushan Babu’ from what it was under Lalu Prasad Yadav’s infamous ‘Jungle raj’. The socio-economic disparities still exist, and on the contrary, continue to fester and grow with the migrant labourers hardest-hit like always.
The inefficient handling of the Coronavirus pandemic in the state and the consequent migrant crisis has further stamped the fact that Nitish Kumar, if not similar to Lalu is just an upgraded copy of him viz. Lalu 2.0.
The migrant labour issue has become a huge political issue which ultimately is going to make a titanic impact on upcoming Assembly elections—as the Nitish Kumar government seems altogether apathetic towards the cause of incoming migrants and the long ailing socio-economic structure of the state.
The Biharis all around have now started questioning CM Nitish Kumar, asking him what difference he has made in the last 15 years as the state CM and how he has been different from Lalu Yadav and why they should suffer for his gross incompetence.
Pathetic condition of MGNREGA
Workers in Bihar get between only 30 to 35 days of work on an average in the state instead of 100 days. As per official data, the average number of days of employment that MGNREGA provided for those in the state, including those who worked even for a day, was 41.94 days in 2019-20.
During the financial year 2018-19, the average number of days of employment provided was 42.19. The number in question was 36.36 days in 2017-18 and 37.37 days in 2016-17.
About 24,573 out of 29.24 lakh households got 100 days of work during 2018-19, 15,556 out of 22,47 lakh in 2017-18, and the corresponding figure for 2016-17 was 14,165 of 22.86 lakh households, according to Newsclick.
No initiative is shown to lure the companies
The industries have died up and no initiative has been shown by Nitish Kumar and his insipid government to lure any company in the wake of Coronavirus pandemic. The pandemic has presented a unique opportunity to the states to open their gates for companies looking to come from China to set their anchors in states with cheap and abundant labor.
A quick comparison might help you understand how inept Nitish Kumar has been in the entire fiasco. Uttar Pradesh under CM Yogi Adityanath has been on an overdrive to bring the companies to his state. A German shoe manufacturing company has already announced that it will set its camp in the Hindi-heartland state. Yogi has done away with the labour laws for three years and has hosted dozens of blue-chip companies, corresponding with them and shown his willingness to accommodate them all.
Bihar is eyeing a bleak future
The strong vicious cycle of corruption and lack of political will is keeping the state of Bihar down. BJP is not doing any favors to itself by staying in the unceremonious alliance with JDU. As a result, BJP which enjoys goodwill in the state is losing the plot.
Most Biharis who traditionally vote for NDA do not want to see Nitish Kumar sworn as the Chief Minister again and if BJP goes with Nitish, then not even a strong Modi-wave might save the day for BJP. The goodwill and credibility BJP has enjoyed in Bihar might slip away and that would be more disastrous than losing an election.
Nitish has been a disappointment. A leader that once promised to be a breath of fresh air in the state somehow lost his plot miserably and that has been a travesty for Bihar. We often become what we hate and Nitish has indeed become an achiral image of Lalu Yadav.
Only a miracle can salvage the fortunes of Bihar and Biharis now.