Friday, 25 September 2015

Elections 2015: Can this be the beginning of the end?

Elections 2015: Can this be the beginning of the end?

As Bihar goes to poll next month, Biharis must analyze before casting their vote, the way the political stalwarts of Bihar have contributed to the ill-fate of Bihar. In a democratic setup, it’s the citizen of the State, who by his power to vote can build his destiny. Our constitution has bestowed upon us this powerful right to vote and elect but the irony is that this can be exercised once in 5 years (or earlier if there is no government in majority). Hence, if we fail to choose the right political party, we will have to repent for another 5 years just watching the remaining States of India rising to greater heights.

Bihar has an area of 94,163 km2 and is the 3rd largest by population. Ganga and its tributaries are the water resources for the state. Bihar has notified forest area of 6,764.14 km2 which is 7.2% of its geographical area. Valmiki National Park, West Champaran district, covers about 800 km2 of forest and is ranked fourth in terms of density of tiger population.

If we ask ourselves, what are the basic requirements for any State to develop and where is Bihar lacking in fulfilling those requirements we will be able to conclude that the only requirement which Bihar was lacking since independence is the lack of good governance and political willingness.

Hon’ble Chief Minister of Bihar, Mr. Nitish Kumar is heard saying that the development of Bihar took a back stage due to the policies of the Central Government in the past such as the Freight Equalisation Policy (FEP). Who was responsible for the FEP? Wasn’t it the Congress party? Had the Members of Parliament representing Bihar during that era been vigilant and audacious in the Parliament, the fate of Bihar would have been different today. There has been a lot of hue & cry by the Nitish government on Rs. 1.25 lakhs Crores package stating that it’s not new but repackaging. If at all it’s repackaging, then where was the money all this time? Why didn’t Mr. Kumar utilize the package? If he did not receive the amount then isn’t it the fault of his new found ally which was ruling in the Centre? If it was, then why is the same Congress a part of the “Maha Gathbandhan”?

There was an era in Bihar during which the people of Bihar lived under the threat of security to life.  An era of kidnapping and ransom. Parents did not lend their surname to their child with the fear that their caste will be disclosed if the surname is mentioned. Such was the level of fear of criminals. The period of “Jungle Raj”. Anybody, who saved a little would prefer to send his child to other States for education, ensuring the safety of their child. Well-to-do people had their personal bodyguards. The credentials of Bihar police was always in question. People had lost faith in the government institutions and it was during this time that Nitish Kumar raised his voice and promised to bring peace and security in the State. In spite of its caste ridden fabric, people of Bihar voted him and he came to power with the help of Bhartiya Janta Party.

In all his interviews during the recent times, Mr. Kumar is heard saying that he wants to debate on the issues of development with Mr. Prime Minister. Well! I would like to draw your attention to a few points in this regard.

Ten years is not a short term for any government having the “Political Willingness” and agenda for development to change the fate of the State. Mr. Nitish Kumar has been ruling for the last 10 years but is there any change visible in that proportion? People of Bihar are still migrating to different States and Countries for education, employment and social security. What initiatives has the JD(U) government taken during the last decade to stop this migration? How many educational institutions been opened? How many industries have been established during the last decade which are still running safely? The answer will be minimal. Bihar has all the natural resources required for a developed State, be it land or water but still there is lack of infrastructure. The problems pertaining to roads and electricity are still open at large. What did the government do to build the required infrastructure within the last 10 years?

Mr. Kumar talks about “Sushashan” but where is it visible on the ground? He says that the crime rate has not increased post his alliance with Mr. Lalu Yadav. It’s high time he should stop burying his head in the sand. He must go through the newspapers daily so that he knows the reality of the State which he is ruling upon. Instances of snatching, robbing, carjacking etc. have become the headlines of the local newspapers and he is still in illusion. According to the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) in 2014, Bihar is at fourth position in the no. of court complaints u/s 156(3) Cr.P.C. and we all know when a court complaint is filed under this section. Moreover, Bihar is at no. 3 after Andhra Pradesh & U.P in the no. of crimes against body as well as the incidences of crime against schedule castes during the year 2013 as per NCRB. So, the govt. failed to protect the schedule castes as well. Around 200,000 cognizable offences were registered in Bihar in 2014 which shows a rise of 42% over 2010. Crime against women in Bihar is one of the highest in the country. In 2014, around 15,000 cases of crime against women were reported in the State. Doesn’t these statistics highlight the so called “Jungle Raj Part II”?

Mr. Kumar talks about medical facilities but the fact is that even now people have to travel to Metro cities for treatment because Bihar still lacks in numbers for the state of the art medical facilities. If you see the level of education of teachers in primary and secondary schools, you will be astonished that many of them do not know who the President of India is or for that sake what is the spelling of “January”? Is this the level of selection criteria opted by the government? What will such teachers teach to the future of Bihar?

Let’s talk about tourism. We all know that the Golden Age of India in science, mathematics, astronomy, commerce, religion and Indian philosophy was during the Gupta Empire which originated in Bihar. The Nalanda & Vikramshila Universities were of global repute with students coming from all over the world to study. Vaishali was established as the world’s first Republic. Bihar plays an important role in the history of Jainism & Buddhism in India. The Ashokan Pillars, the highest Stupa of the world in Kesaria, the Valmiki National Park etc. are all present in Bihar. People across the world are interested in visiting these places but the State Government has failed to develop infrastructure for tourism. If you visit these places you’ll be shocked to see the conditions of these world heritages? I would request the Hon’ble CM to visit the Ashokan Pillar & Stupa at Lauria & Nandangarh & see the level of negligence towards these heritage sites. There’s no proper road to reach these sites. There are potholes throughout that single road to the heritage site. How do you expect tourists to go there? Had the government shown interest in protecting these structures & promoting tourism, the tourism sector itself would have generated volumes of employment and revenue for the State. Wasn’t it feasible in 10 long years?

Biharis are known for their culture and the respect with which they talk to another person. Biharis are courteous in their behavior. You will rarely hear a Bihari calling you as ‘Tum’, he will always say ‘Aap’. On the contrary, I would like to draw the attention of Mr. Nitish Kumar towards his dearest friend Mr. Lalu Yadav, a convict in the Fodder Scam & the arrogance with which Mr. Yadav talks. For him, the Prime Minister, the I & B Minister and many more are his juniors and so he can call them names and make fun of them. Is this the culture which you, Mr. Nitish Kumar want to pass to the future of Bihar? A culture where there is no respect for any individual or any designated post? Does Mr. Yadav have a single agenda for development of Bihar? Not one. During his entire speech you’ll see him doing mimicry of other leaders and passing comic statements which are far away from the agenda of development. Sorry to say but do we need a clown in the political arena? Recently, we all heard his statement on reservation. I do not want to go into the intricacies of reservation, however, we should give a thought about whom has reservation actually benefitted? Has the benefit reached the people who actually deserved to be benefitted or it has only benefitted to the likes of Lalu Yadav, Tejashwi Yadav, Misa Bharti etc.? Bihar has always given preference to "CASTE" while electing its leaders and in return these leaders have only empowered themselves rather than focusing on the development of Bihar. This is because these leaders do not have the political “Vision” and “Willingness” for development.

Can this be the beginning of the end? The end of the sufferings which Bihar has tolerated for the last 68 years only by electing the wrong leaders in good faith & upon a single criteria – “Caste”. Bihar has seen the Congress regime, the RJD regime under Lalu Yadav & Rabri Devi and now for the last ten years the regime of JD(U) under Mr. Nitish Kumar. If Mr. Nitish Kumar says that 10 years is not enough and he needs another tenure of 5 years then he doesn’t have the moral right to raise fingers on the Modi government which hasn’t even completed 2 years in Parliament and the changes are visible throughout the world. India is being recognized on the Global front as an emerging power.

Undoubtedly, caste has been an integral part of Bihar elections since independence but if you see the last two elections i.e. 2010 Bihar Assembly polls and 2014 Parliamentary elections, you will realize that the scourge of caste took a backseat and the people elected NDA with a thumping majority wherein NDA had sought the mandate on its progressive agenda of development. Hence, a ray of hope to the developmental politics has been seen in recent times. Almost 58% of Biharis are below the age of 25, which is the highest proportion of youngsters of the population of any state in India. Hence, this “Youth Brigade” should contribute to making the Modern Bihar by voting for development. We now need a government which is not only vocal but also enthusiastic in building the “Modern Bihar” and restoring the wealth and pride of the State which it earlier had.

Now the time has come for the change which Bihar has been waiting for. Let us keep the caste factor aside and join hands to vote for development. Let us build a Modern Bihar.

Jai Bihar! Jai Bharat!