Bihari youth excited by poll results, call it new hope

By Anjali Ojha, IANS
Wednesday, November 24, 2010

PATNA/NEW DELHI - The excitement among youth from Bihar was palpable across India Wednesday, with most saying the Janata Dal-United (JD-U)-Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) combine’s sweeping win was a vote for development, to pull the state out of backwardness.

“It is exciting! Although I am not in Bihar, I can feel the pulse,” said Niraj Singh, an IT professional from Patna, working in Gurgaon.

“I hope another five years will free Bihar from the stigma of BIMARU (diseased) state and regain its historic glory. It’s like phoenix rising from the ashes, just what we have always wanted,” he says. Bihar has for long been categorised as a BIMARU state due to its economic backwardness.

“This is a positive message for all of us. I hope this government will make things better as development is the agenda,” said Vinay Prasad Mandal, a resident of Katihar in Bihar.

Working in Haryana, Mandal says he would be happy to return if he gets employment in the state. “We had to leave our homes for education and employment, but now it’s like a new beginning for the state,” he says.

This will be the second five-year term for the JD-U led government of Chief Minister Nitish Kumar which first came to power in 2005. At that time it had unseated the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) of Lalu Prasad. Now it has fared even better.

Most young Bihari women also appear to be ecstatic.

Shweta Jha, who hails from Madhubani district and is pursuing graduation in political science at Delhi University, calls it a victory for developmental politics.

“We are finally seeing it, I think it is historic that a state known for its caste divide is moving to a totally development oriented agenda. Isn’t it a national achievement as most of the electorate all over still goes for caste and religion politics?” she says.

According to Election Commission figures, the overall percentage of women voters in these polls was 54.85 percent - higher than 50.70 percent for men. In all six phases, women voters were seen in large numbers, reflecting they preferred to vote first and complete their domestic chores later.

Ramkhilawan Yadav, a 19-year-old from a village in Mokama near Patna who works as a tea vendor in the national capital, said his family voted for JD-U as it has done good work in the area.

“They did good work, so everyone in my family voted for him. Last time we had voted for the RJD candidate, but he did not win… Caste should not be the main thing, we all need work.”

In Patna, the sense of joy and celebration was evident.

Vandana Tiwari, a teacher in Patna University, said this time they were happier than when the JD-U-BJP combine won for the first time.

“When the last polls were held, I was doing my graduation, people were happy but this time the confidence level is running higher than ever,” she says.

The excitement was reflected even on social networking sites as Bihar youth logged in.

“Nitish Kumar again racing ahead of Lalu towards Chief Minister’s chair… all set for a second inning - wow, what a news to start the day with… super likes,” Sonam Singh, a resident of Patna working in Pune wrote on her Facebook profile.

“Am feeling so positive with the news… it’s like seeing light at the end of the tunnel after 15 years of darkness that spread during Lalu’s regime,” she writes.

“I ensured to be in Patna to vote this time,” Kasturi Jha who is working in Bangalore said on Facebook. “I saw a number of female voters lined up for voting…I knew Bihar has finally woken up.”

(Anjali Ojha can be contacted at

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