As the Bihar election campaign heats up, few in the political class are willing to bet against Nitish Kumar not winning a second term as chief minister. He has a good record as an administrator; his party, the JD(U), has a formidable alliance with the BJP and together the two make for a significant social coalition in the state; his opponents are still getting their act together.
Laloo Yadav, Kumar's biggest rival, is a very polarising figure in Bihar. He ruled the state - directly and through a proxy chief minister, his wife - for 15 years (1990-2005) and memories of that period are still fresh for many. On their part, Yadav's old supporters, be they Yadavs or Muslims or Dalits, seem to have outgrown the obsession with identity politics for the sake of identity politics and too would like purposeful governance that would help Bihar catch up with the rest of India.
Other than Nitish Kumar, for whom re-election would be a validation that Bihar's turnaround is for real, the oneRead More »from Rahul’s Challenge