Laloo, predictably rubbished the exit polls stating that they never come true. He was right in a way. Where the exit polls predicted around 40+ seats for his RJD-LJP alliance, he got only 20+. The BJP-JD(U) alliance which was expected to get around 180 seats, ended up getting 200 odd. It was not just a clean sweep, it was a virtual Nitish tsunami that swept away everything in sight. Forget about regions, ifs and buts, caste wise calculations, this was one of those emphatic sweeps which towered over everything. Even if the Congress,RJD and LJP had teamed up together, at best they would have reduced the victory margin, nothing more. The message from the Bihar voter is clear "We believe in Nitish's message for Hope, and nothing else matters".
The biggest winner though in the polls has been the BJP, while the JD(U) has more or less put in the same performance, it is the BJP which by winning around 80+ seats, registered a huge gain of 25 from last time. What this means, is that while Nitish is still the uncrowned lord of Bihar, the BJP is not exactly playing second fiddle either. Inspite of the fact that the alliance has quite often seen cracks in recent times, both of the parties have been going together well. So the question arises, "If Bihar why not in UP?". The fact is in Bihar, the BJP has had a strong leadership both at the state and center level. Sushil Modi and Ashwini Kumar Choubey at the state level, Rajiv Pratap Rudy, Ravi Shankar Prasad, Shahnawaz Hussain at the center level, have done a creditable job. Sadly the U.P. leadership of the BJP right now is in a shambles, and the party will have to seriously work on it.
Laloo and Paswan have lost badly, and that is an understatement. Its been a massive disaster for them. It is not the end of road, but certainly Laloo needs to face the hard reality. He is no longer the Uncrowned King of Bihar, and Muslim-Yadav votebank has reached it's sell by date.Nitish Kumar has smartly countered Laloo's MY and Paswan's Dalit votebank, by reaching out to the extremely Backward castes, and the Mahadalits. And the major reason is that the masses in Bihar are in no mood to forget and forgive Laloo's decade of misrule. Not yet. The thuggery of his wife's brother Sadhu Yadav, the kitchen cabinet politics, the complete regression of Bihar on all fronts during his rule, has left deep wounds which will take some time to heal.Rabri Devi called Nitish a dishonest thief, she was firmly put in her place by the voters, who booted her out in both places.
As for the Congress and it's Yuvraj Rahul Gandhi, their performance in one word- RUBBISH. What the heck was Rahul Gandhi thinking, when he was doing a personal attack on Nitish, it was the equivalent of shooting yourself in the foot. The Congress needs to realize that to win elections, you need strong leadership at the local level, it has virtually none so in Bihar. One of the Congress leaders said the party will look into why the massive rallies could not translate into votes. It is not rocket science you idiot. Sans a party structure, sans proper leadership, you just can't perform. And yes the Congress needs to understand it's Dilli Centric approach has no takers in Bihar. You can't have leaders sitting in Delhi, out of touch with the grass roots, out of touch with the local populace, and then expect to perform.
Interestingly on one of the discussions, Shekar Gupta pointed out that Rahul Gandhi's talk of 2 Indias has no takers. In a way valid, the average voter mindset has changed, the average person has changed. The media and professional poverty mongers may go on and on about "Two Indias", but the person on the street looks at it differently. Rather than bemoaning the fact that there are 2 Indias, the person in the other India wants to belong to the new India. To put it in more simpler terms, the new Indian mentality is more aspirational, having seen the world, they seek a better lifestyle. Which is where Nitish scored, he gave them the hope that this man could lead them to the promised land. The fact is that in a state which was at the bottom rung on all parameters for a long time, Nitish's message and focus on development, actually gave them a hope.
Bihar still has a very long way to go, and the road ahead won't be easy. Nitish however has made some kind of beginning, especially by improving the law and order situation, his attempts at increasing the literacy rate, construction of roads. But the real task for Nitish and Sushil Modi, begins now. Managing expectations can be a huge task, ask Obama. The massive mandate the Bihar voter has given to Nitish, is in effect a huge challenge to him. Now begins the actual job, getting the investments, with the formation of Jharkhand, Bihar had lost a whole chunk of it's mineral wealth. Nitish now needs to make up for that, and more importantly stem the flow of Biharis out of the state. So while Nitish deserves to bask in the glow of the victory, let us wait and see how he delivers in the future.