It has always been said by the great thinkers around the world that acceptance of reality is the biggest virtue. Until and unless you don’t accept the reality which stands right in front of your face, it becomes hard to escape it and leads to baseless and useless arguments. Now the readers must’ve got a cue about the article being presented in front of them.
The tale of the 2020 Bihar elections was no less than a play on not just level but also the national level. There were speculations, rallies, slogans and the plot that every politician has in his/her before entering the battlefield of elections. However, the 2020 election for the Bihar Vidhan Sabha saw the emergence of a concept of ‘silent voters’ that was long forgotten. We shall talk about the role of ‘silent voters’ at a little later part of the article. For now, let us understand why the 2020 Bihar election had a dramatic flair of its own.
After independence of our nations and after the nation took the tag of a ‘developing nation’, there were certain Indian states which because of their low socio-economic status earned the title of ‘sick’ or ‘बीमारू’ state. Unfortunately, Bihar has always secured a position among the list of sick states over years. The governments, both at central and state level tried to remove the disparity but the result always came up to a few developments around the major cities and the rural areas to be in the darkness. Now coming to the government machinery there, a picture has been painted in front of the entire world of how the state machinery collapsed during the infamous ‘जंगल राज’. This particular time is one of the primary reasons for the low development of Bihar as a state. Instead of development, the state was coloured with high crime rates, scams, abuse of power, and failure of the government machinery which also led to the imposition of the President’s rule for 08 times. Every time before the elections it was observed that asking for votes with keeping the face of development and the face of caste as the primary tactic. However, this time, the state witnessed something different than the caste based tactic.
The new face of RJD, Mr. Tejasvi Prasad Yadav came out of the caste based tactic and covered various issues in the state like health infrastructure, development of the rural areas, mass rallies to address the public etc. This was a change from what it was perceived by the people. He was often seen under the shadow of his parents and the ideology as such. This young leader decided to pair up with the INC and the left and form the ‘Mahagathbandhan’. The Mahagathbandhan did manage to take 110 seats out of the 243 seats in Bihar, it failed to cross the majority mark and is now left to decide and ponder upon the choices that the parties in the rand alliance made and who went wrong. However, it won’t be wrong to say that RJD, despite its past managed to emerge as the largest voted party in the Bihar elections.
Talking about the BJP-JD(U) coalitions, most of the exit polls around the nation showed that this alliance won’t be able to cross the 100 mark. These speculations came right through the time when Chirag Paswan, son of Union Minister Late Ram Vilas Paswan decided to back from the NDA alliance. However, it seemed that LJP was neither really successful in gaining the seats in the election nor in garnering sympathy votes from the voters due to the death of Mr. Ram Vilas Paswan, it indeed was successful in satisfying their motives of snatching at least 25-30 seats which could’ve been easily won by the NDA. Now the biggest factor as credited by various leaders of the NDA alliance for their successful win over 125 seats is silent voters. Silent voters are those voters who vote for a particular party and choose to remain silent about it. And this was more or less the primary reason for the triumph of the NDA in the 2020 Bihar elections.
To cite the Hon’ble Prime Minister,
“I’m hearing a lot in the media about the ‘silent voter’. Now you can hear their echo. BJP has a bank of such silent voters who are voting for it time after time. These are the women voters of the country. They are our nari shakti (women power). From rural to urban, women have become the largest group of silent voters for us,”
Since we have talked about the silent voters and the role they played in this election, it is essential for us to understand the concepts revolving around it. Having explained the meaning, it is essential for us to understand the static concept of it, as half knowledge is always dangerous. From the evolution of electoral system around the world, various concepts, plays, ploys and trends have emerged. Some remain, some go. And the trend we are talking of here about ‘silent voters’ is something that was and will continue to be present during the electoral process. Now this trend has played a vital role in the elections around the world, be it USA or UK or Canada, and the list goes on. They could be called as what is called the ‘trump card’ (we are definitely not talking about Mr. Donald J. Trump here, rather the literal meaning of trump) of any elections. Even in the 2020 USA elections, the silent voters enabled the 2 candidates to win certain seats that no one would’ve thought would be won by the other.
Taking this trend towards the Indian sub-continent, there have been various instances where the silent voters turned the tide of exit polls both at the big-party level (macro level) and at the constituency level (micro level). If we go deep, we will understand that the position of silent voters has been taken up either by women or by the newly-turned adults. Now why is this?
The simple reason could be put forward in this way, the government elected has the power to make policies for the betterment of the citizens both at the central and state level. Now after the policy has been made and the policy has been implemented, the various stakeholders with respect to the policy react to it and put forward their contentions regarding the same. It is not always that the women (rural and conservative areas) are allowed to come forward and talk about it. To the surprise of the readers, some women don’t even know that there are policies and schemes dedicated to them exists!
Now, the disparities and the knowledge is something that could be reserved for another article. So, elections are one of the ways where the women show their dissent/assent on the policies and schemes they have heard from their husbands, society members, neighbours and other sources. Hence, establishing the culture of voting differently from the men and occupying the position of silent voters.
If the readers remember the citation by the Hon’ble Prime Minister mentioned above, that was something that the NDA believed right from the beginning. Both BJP and JD (U) from the time the election process ended and the news channels with the help of their partners(s) started predicting the exit polls, released statements which highlighted that the exit polls are definitely not the true face of the results and it is not possible for any exit poll to track these silent voters as such. It is essential for the readers to know that both the above mentioned parties, particularly in Bihar have always believed that their silent voters (women, people from weaker sections and sections that remain shy) have benefitted from the various schemes and policies put forward by BJP and JD (U). And much to the surprise of the news channels, exit polls, other parties and some citizens, NDA managed to comfortably make the government in Bihar with BJP emerging as the big brother in the alliance with the help of ‘silent voters’.
The another factor as told by the people was the ‘Modi factor’, which essentially means that the people look at our Hon’ble PM as the face of change, as the face which with the help of Mr. Nitish Kumar would bring on the change in Bihar. However, there were speculations during the election times that the Modi factor is vanishing. But as we say in English, hot the turntables, much to the surprise of the people, the Modi factor still prevails and the people who had denied it during exit polls seemed to have failed as BJP emerged as the largest party in the NDA alliance.
Now coming to the concluding part, this political drama has seen the blame game and the contentions over the hacking of Electoral Voting Machines (EVM) by RJD itself. Now as I’ve mentioned in the first paragraph about acceptance, it is an art that is known to all but mastered by few. So the same would go for RJD as well, instead of now playing blame games and allegation game on the EVMs, it must now fulfill its duty as a member of opposition and keep a check on the government to be formed soon and realize that it was indeed a saga of acceptance for them and triumph of another.
Abeer Tiwari – Writer Bharat Bhagya Vidhata