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

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The Unanswered Questions

JP to BJP: Bihar After Lalu and Nitish by Santosh Singh, New Delhi: Sage Publications and Vitasta, 2021; pp xxiii + 302, `595.


In the last Bihar assembly elections (2020), the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) emerged as the dominant partner within the National Democratic Alliance (NDA). While Janata Dal (United) (JD[U]) could only win 43 seats, the BJP went on to secure victory on 74 seats. Notably, the JD(U) had contested more seats (115) than the BJP (110). One can argue that this happened largely because the JD(U) was heavily damaged by the Lok Janshakti Party, registering losses in as many as 20 seats due to that. However, that is only the partial truth because even if one adds 20 seats, it would still be short of the BJP’s tally. Moreover, what is even more significant is that over the years in every assembly election, the BJP has consolidated itself and emerged as the biggest threat to its alliance partner, the JD(U). The only exce­ption over the last two decades would be the 2015
assembly polls when the JD(U) was part of the Mahagathbandhan or the United Progressive Alliance instead of the NDA. 

Hence, for anyone interested in under­standing the politics of Bihar, the obvious question would be, how did this happen? How has a party, which was once considered “politically untouchable,” come to occupy the centre stage? Who helped it? What has been the modus operandi and what led to the spectacular rise of the BJP in Bihar? One hoped that a book intriguingly titled, JP to BJP: Bihar After Lalu and Nitish would answer some of these questions. This was also expected because in the very beginning of the book there is a quote by the former president of the JD(U) and senior socialist leader Sharad Yadav saying, “JP’s acceptance of Bharatiya Jan Sangh ended its untouchability and the long-lasting stigma of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) being the killer of Mahatma Gandhi.” However, the book squarely fails to trace the trajectory of the Bharatiya Jan Sangh’s newer ­avatar, the BJP, in the state. 

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Updated On : 1st Jan, 2022
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