Diaspora on Bihar elections: Some enthused, some disappointed
Washington/London: They might have missed casting their franchise in the crucial Bihar elections that witnessed a landslide victory for the Nitish Kumar-Lalu Yadav's Grand Alliance and decimation of the BJP, but the diaspora gave a mixed response to the outcome.
Stakes were high in the recently-concluded assembly polls in Bihar through which BJP was eyeing better hold on the key state notwithstanding the strong regional politics. The campaigning had Prime Minister Narendra Modi holding marathon rallies in a direct challenge to incumbent Kumar.
Modi-led NDA received a drubbing at the hustings while JD(U)-led Grand Alliance with 178 seats registered a scintillating win in the crucial polls, which also saw the return of Lalu as the kingmaker.
From San Francisco to Prague, the results evoked mixed reactions from people hailing from Bihar, ranging from "extreme happiness" to "extreme disappointment."
"'Jo na kate aari se, wo kate Bihari se' (Those who seem invincible are also defeated by a Bihari)," said Texas resident Ajit Chauhan, who works for an organisation dedicated for development of Bihar.
Patna-born Shrini Singh, who recently moved to Texas after her marriage, is elated about the return of Kumar at the helm of the affairs.
"When he had first come to power, I had personally gone to thank him as a young student living in Patna... And, today, I feel very happy for him," she told PTI.
After the announcement of results in which Lalu's RJD emerged as the largest party with a haul of 80 seats, more than JD(U)'s 71, many people including from Bihar took to social media.
London-resident Shitesh Prakash, an IIT-Bombay graduate who migrated from Patna in 2001, said: "BJP raising meaningless issues like cow and beef to polarise voters was stupid, and hence it backfired."
Prakash, who works for a consultancy major in UK, said he would never support Lalu after what he saw in the mid-90s in his hometown, and will go for "Nitish in the state and Modi at the Centre."
He said: "Well, having said that this will push Bihar back again. But there is also a feel that Modi should focus at national level and let local BJP leadership fight these state elections... His stooping to such low-level during election campaigns, was anyway, something, we did not appreciate."
Patna-born Vineet Abhishek, an IIT-Kanpur alumnus working for a start-up in California, feels uncomfortable about the victory of the Grand Alliance "given the Lalu factor".
"I have battled stereotyped at IIT and even now people occasionally ridicule me in US, despite all my education and achievements I have earned with my hard work," he said.
Shruti Sahi, who lives in Prague with her husband, rues not having been able to vote in the elections this year.
"I wanted to be there in Bihar and register my presence in the democracy exercise. But, even I could not participate, hope people have made the wise decision, and Bihar will change for the better," she said.
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