He couldn’t make a mark in the tinsel world. But if there were Oscars for the Bihar state election potboiler, he would run away with the Best Actor trophy, beating everyone else hands down. Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) leader Chirag Paswan stands out in the melee of political heavyweights for his powerful and enigmatic act in the battle for Bihar.
There are primarily two pre-requisites for the Best Actor award. First, a complex character that keeps the audience on their toes – gentle family man with a charming personality, tough and resilient to take on the big guys, selfless, out to save the world from impending danger, etc, etc. And then, a powerful act that takes the actor into the skin of the character he plays. Chirag Paswan and his role in this election stand tall on both these counts.
He ditches the ruling coalition, only in the state but not at the Centre, and fights the state assembly election alone. That should automatically brand him as an opponent of the ruling BJP-JD(U) combine. But not on this occasion. Chirag Paswan decides on his own to break up the ruling coalition in the state and put up candidates only against the JD(U). He relentlessly attacks the JD(U) leader while pulling no stops in his praise for BJP’s top leadership, even to the extent of depicting himself as the Hanuman with just the Prime Minister in his heart.
BJP shows their displeasure in no uncertain terms, at least in public. They warn him not to invoke the PM’s name in his campaigns. Chirag Paswan reacts by re-emphasising his great relations with the topmost BJP luminaries, showers them with the choicest compliments, and publicly declares his loyalty to them. He goes further to claim that there will be a BJP-LJP government formed in the state after the election, with BJP in the lead.
JD(U) gets understandably suspicious about their key partner’s ‘undeclared’ intentions. The BJP leadership goes out of their way to address this with repeated proclamations that the JD(U) chief is their coalition’s only candidate for the chief minister’s post. But they allow Chirag Paswan to remain a part of the coalition at the national level. JD(U) is also a partner there. This means two key cohorts of the central ruling coalition are fighting an all-out battle in the own state, as the main and domineering ruling party looks the other way. Chirag Paswan then adds to the well-orchestrated smog by predicting that the JD(U) leadership will do an encore of their notoriously famous flip-flop to join the present day opposition once the election results are out. Another master act.
Elections come and go. But this election for the Bihar assembly has so far been unique in many ways. The people would decide who they want in power; then the political masters would decide how best to manipulate the results to grab power, even if that means making a mockery of the electorate’s mandate. So, there are various possibilities. The pollsters, the pundits and the media shall be busy with endless discussions on various likely scenarios till we have a new government in Patna.
However, irrespective of who or which combination takes power in the state, this Chirag Paswan act will be remembered for long. He may become a kingmaker or he may come a cropper in the final reckoning. But the Oscar for the Best Actor goes to him all the same.