ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Bihar : Wages of Vote-Bank Politics

Rule of law can be established only when laws are seen to be strictly enforced and the guilty brought to book expeditiously. This will not happen so long as vote-bank politics continues to rule the roost. There can be no better proof of this than Bihar with its successive rounds of caste violence with the administration reduced to the role of a spectator.

Over 20 years back, when one of the first caste carnages in Bihar took place at Belchi in Bihar, Indira Gandhi, then in opposition, braved the elements and poor transport to reach the place ostensibly to bring solace to the kith and kin of the victims. At the height of the violent agitation concerning renaming of the university in Marathwada, the socialist leader S M Joshi was the only person of any stature to visit the area and try to calm the partisan passions. That was also some 20 years back. One may go further back in history and recall the march through Noakhali in Bengal of another individual to halt the communal riots then raging in that area.

Political leadership has changed much over the period. After the latest massacre of innocent and hapless villagers in Bihar, no leader of any political consequence thought it profitable, even as a matter of political expediency, to visit the place. Neither the self-appointed saviours of the yadavs and other backward classes (the victims this time), nor the opposition leaders saw any percentage in a trip to the place of the latest massacre. Bihar has a dozen ministers in the central ministry. All of them chose to look away and stay away. Some of them are now organising a seminar of thinkers, intellectuals and political leaders on the ‘unending culture of violence in Bihar’. The political parties which are valiantly fighting through affidavits and legal arguments before the Election Commission for the retention of the label of an all-India party, could spare no all-India leader to look into the latest chapter of the Bihar tragedy. Even the ecclesiastical leaders of this sect or that, always alert to any violence against one of their flock and rightfully so, are seemingly unmoved by the killing of over 35 poor but non-denominational humans in Mianpur village of Aurangabad district in Bihar on June 16. The previous massacre in Bihar had taken place only a few days earlier at Nawada; the toll then was 13. At that time also, the response of the political parties and their leaders was no different.

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