The first phase of Bihar Elections has been completed. The fate of the candidates of 49 constituencies has been sealed along with the fate of the upcoming sessions of Lok Sabha because the result of these elections will have serious effect on the proceedings of the government’s strategy and functioning.
This phase did away with many unwanted traditions of Bihar. Polling reached new summit of 57%, which was higher than the Lok Sabha elections by about 4%. In a strong message to the country, the women outnumbered male voters by about 5 percent; the male voters who utilised their voting rights were 54.5% whereas 59.5% female voters turned out to vote.
The Election Commission is to be congratulated for this result as it undertook a lot of measures to make people vote. Many of these polling booths were naxal affected but no untoward incident was reported and the overall polling session was peaceful with maximum turnout till date in Bihar.
A huge amount of paramilitary force was deployed for this purpose and surveillance was done by the drones and helicopters for the first time in Bihar. These steps encouraged the people to come out and vote without any fear or favour, affection or ill-will.
The campaign initiated by the Election Commission brought out people from their homes in large numbers and their Selfie campaign was a major attraction among youth who came out to vote for the first time.
The other day when I was surfing on the internet, I was deeply hurt by the way Bihar was portrayed. In the most recent one, the political arena has stooped to a new nadir where personal accusations garner more crowd than the manifesto of the party. No one was spared. The level of language being used has detoriated drastically.
Every other day one or the other politician indulges in hate comments or controversial tweets. Everyone is trying to strike the hornet’s nest to gain unprecedented publicity.
This election in Bihar is an election for change. I was travelling on a train bound to West Bengal via Bihar a couple of days ago. I got an opportunity to talk to the original stakeholders of this election – the people of Bihar.
I had heard a lot about Biharis but what I got to know was quite different and a bit fascinating on my part. The co-passengers in my compartment were a group of young and energetic people from Bihar. One of them was Vijay Singh. He works as a semi-skilled worker in one of the factories in the National Capital Region. He along with the group was going to his homeland to celebrate the biggest festival of democracy – the elections.
I was quite surprised on his reaction towards my question related to the ongoing five-phased state elections. There was an elated enthusiasm in his eyes when he started expressing himself.
He said, “Sir, this election is as important for us as that for the politicians in fray. We have got an opportunity to choose our future. If we miss it, there will be no one to be blamed. Not only is it our duty, but also our responsibility.”
He earns a mere 15 grands per month and said it was tough for him to sustain himself and his family in this inflation hit economy. A quarter of his salary goes in rent and it is even harder to survive if you have to send a chunk of your income back home where your ailing mother solely depends on what you send back to her.
The group unanimously accepted that had there been industries in their home state, they would have never left their home. It was quite difficult for them to find a job paying even Rs 12,000 in their home town. They insisted that if they get a job paying even 10,000 per month, their effective standard of living would increase manifolds at home.
They said that they would vote for a government which would provide those better employment opportunities, good governance and better health facilities. It was time for the revival of Bihar.
I would not delve in the biasness by naming a party they were supporting as it would deprive the readers of the central theme of the article which is the changing mindset and aspirations of the people of Bihar.
What I want to say is that I was happily surprised that the youth of today is serious about its duties and responsibilities towards the society and its improvement. Gone are those days when people used to say that there is no need of voting as all politicians were corrupt and no one would do anything for the society.
Today the attitude has changed and people have become more responsible. This awakening is good for the societal change. Our democracy is going to turn into a septuagenarian and after all experiments and tests, finally, slowly but steadily, the society is coming back on track.
The central theme of the article is that people who have been deprived of their basic amenities, want a change and a society to live in which would provide them better education, employment opportunities and better healthcare.
The people seem to have overcome the caste based politics and have become pro-development. They now have understood that time has come to support those candidates who are relatively better than the previous ones who indulged in politics of caste, creed, region and religion.
These elections have a whole new set of demands by the public and mere caste based social engineering would not win polls for the political parties. This is a positive trend which would take the state and the society in the right direction. Hope this trend sustains itself for further elections also.