After the blow from Mamata Banerjee, the Congress Party, trapped in complications, has started on a fast search for ‘Arjun’ in Bihar. For almost 22 years, the Congress Party has been aspiring for power in Bihar, on which it had once the monopoly – right from Independence. The Babri Masjid demolition, the rise of V.P. Singh and the coming into force of the recommendations of the Mandal Commission – these three factors changed the established social warp and weft in Bihar, which once guaranteed a win for the Congress in every election. The situation became such that over time, the Congress Party remained only as a ‘hanger-on’ of Lalu Prasad Yadav and Ram Vilas Paswan. During this entire ‘low’ period, several State Presidents were changed, with everybody trying to gain a vantage point according to their status and reach. But the Congress was not able to step forward. Later on, during the tenure of Ram Jatan Sinha and Anil Sharma, it was felt that if not the common people, then at least Congresspersons have been energised, and they started to feel that something could be cultivated once again in the lands of Bihar which had turned barren for the Congress.
But internal factionalism and pulling each other down throttled that expectation and after the removal of Anil Sharma, the party was once again on the crossroads. Mehboob Ali Kaiser in turn has made the party utterly helpless during his tenure. It is very difficult to differentiate whether Kaiser is carrying the party or the party is carrying him. This is the reason why, after looking at the current political situation in the country, the ‘think tank’ sitting in Delhi is searching for an undefeatable ‘Arjun’ rather than a normal soldier who can hit the bull’s eye to boost the chances of the Congress Party in Bihar for Mission 2014. This is also the reason behind the delay that is occurring in the selection of a new State President. The Congress wants to make sure that this time the party surely hits the bull’s eye.
It is very difficult to differentiate whether Bihar State Congress President Kaiser is carrying the party or the party is carrying him. This is the reason why, after looking at the current political situation in the country, the ‘think tank’ sitting in Delhi is searching for an undefeatable ‘Arjun’ rather than a normal soldier who can hit the bull’s eye to boost the chances of the Congress Party in Bihar for Mission 2014.
The Congress High Command has got a long list of candidates who can become the ‘Arjun’ of Bihar. But it is not known how many times this list has been changed. Informed sources say that the list sent to the High Command was done in two stages. The names which are amongst the top five are Shakeel Ahmad, Sameer Mahaseth, Anil Sharma, Madan Mohan Jha and Anil Sulabh. The other names proposed are those of Ashok Chaudhary, Akhilesh Singh, Kripanath Pathak, Premchandra Mishra, Vijay Shankar Mishra, Ashok Ram and Vijay Shankar Dubey. The High Command has to take the final decision of selecting one from these names. Naturally, there are a lot of arguments ‘for’ and ‘against’ selecting a particular person. For example, a spotless image is the biggest asset of the firebrand leader Shakeel Ahmed. It is being that Shakeel can do what Kaiser failed to do : join the Muslims with the party. But it remains to be seen whether the High Command will take the risk of making another Muslim President after a Muslim President. The only factor going in favour of Anil Sharma is his previous tenure. The fans of Anil Sharma are reminding the High Command again and again that if the Congress in these 22 years was in good condition, then it was during the tenure of Anil Sharma. But if the High Command is going to go by the policy of ‘no repetitions’, then Sharmaji will face difficulties. It is being said that in relation to Sameer Mahaseth, the Congress High Command is trying to approach things in a new manner. The High Command is feeling that instead of labouring hard for the traditional Congress voters, new vote banks should be brought within the influence and reach of the party — a vote bank which can make the BJP weak. With this feeling the High Command is seriously thinking about Sameer Mahaseth who belongs to the ‘Vaishya’ fraternity. The ‘think tank’ of the Congress is assuming that if the 22 per cent votes of the Vaishyas can be brought on board then their ferry might move on in Bihar with the help of the traditional votes and the miracle of Rahul Gandhi. This advantage is also been seen by them in the neighbouring state Jharkhand. The Congress is trying to convince the public that even if the BJP is claiming that they support the Vaishyas, in reality they are continuously making fools out of the Vaishyas. The Congress also wants to give an explanation to the Vaishyas of the benefits which their businessmen are going to get from the Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) and that they are trying to find a solution to the confusion created by the BJP. By making a Vaishya the President, the Congress wants to give a message to the fraternity that the BJP only says so, but the Congress really supports them.
To breakdown the traditional votes of the BJP, the Congress is going to the Vaishyas and convincing them that they do not have any idea about how much they are going to benefit through this FDI. In addition to this, the clear image of Mahaseth and his acceptability among the public suits the Congress party in Bihar. However, the path of Mahaseth can be easier if he can win the trust of his rivals inside the party. The gentle and clear image of Anil Sulabh increases his strength. His organisational capability has been proved by the way in which he has made the intellectual cell active. He has got the required reach and easily wins everyone over through his sweet quotes. His newness in the party is the only obstacle in his path. It has not been too long since Sulabh has joined the party. If Sulabh gets across this obstacle then he can become successful.
The strong covert links with the lobby in Delhi increases the strength of Madan Mohan Jha. But his minimal relation with the land of Bihar also decreases his strength. But due to the strength of his fraternity he is still there in the race. It is quite likely that the High Command will choose someone from the top five. If not, then the search for ‘Arjun’ will continue by taking a look at the second list. The decision is expected soon. It will be interesting to see who will be the ‘Arjun’ of Bihar.
NO SCOPE FOR IFs & BUTs
To stabilise the Manmohan Government at the Centre, the greedy eyes of the Congress are focused on Members of Parliament (MPs) of the Janata Dal (United). To deal with any kind of emergency situations, the policy makers of the Congress are making huge efforts to get the support of MPs of the JD (U). According to informed sources, Ahmed Patel and Digvijay Singh have been appointed for this task. It is said that information about dissatisfied MPs of the JD(U) is being passed on to Ahmed Patel and Digvijay Singh by a big leader of Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD). It is also being claimed that the number of such MPs has reached 16. That means two-thirds, as the total number of MPs in the JD(U) is 22. The RJD leader who is passing on the information is working very hard in this campaign. After assessing the situation, Chief Minister Nitish Kumar announced in a conference at Bettiah that whoever will rank Bihar as a ‘special state’ will get my support. Nitish doesn’t want any kind of breakup in the Parliamentary Party of the JD (U). So to keep the MPs united, he has thrown this dice. Sources say that the day the Congress will feel that they need the MPs of the JD(U), on that day they will make their choice. While making their choice, the possibility of winning Lok Sabha seats from Bihar in the coming elections and the politics of the Congress in the future would also be a factor. The Congress will opt for a choice where the party will need to agree to a minimum number of conditions. At present, to keep the Manmohan Government alive, all these activities are been done in the name of ‘reserve choice’. While denying the likelihood of any kind of a split in the Parliamentary party, people connected with the JD (U) are saying that Nitishji has made it clear : ‘Give rank for a special state, take support’. After this, where is the scope for ifs and buts?