Bihar Assembly Election 1969

Source: Election Commission of India

From A Correspondent

Loudspeakers, drums and the promises of leaders no longer fill the air. The Bihar elections in which 2,100 candidates contested 318 seats are over. The result is neither in favour of Congressism nor anti-Congressism.

The Congress strength has declined. This time it got only 118 seats. In the first general election it had captured 240 seats which decreased to 210 in the second, 185 in the third and 128 in the fourth.

The Jana Sangh has improved its strength from 26 to 34, though some thought it would get at least 50 seats and some predicated 70 or 80. Anyhow the JS has not captured seats in proportion to its 310 candidates.

Actually this is no surprise as the JS has no hold in the villages. It is a Marwari-donated party which can only capture the town seats.

The SSP, poor SSP, orphans of Dr. Lohia, have lost the battle this time. But it is not their fault. The Shoshit Dal was working nowhere to win, but to defeat the SSP. Anyhow with the help of its old slogan and casteism the SSP captured 52 and this time too it is the second largest party in Bihar.

The CPI could not improve its strength this time. It won 25 seats. Actually it has not won on the party ideology. The Indian Nation says: “Not all the communists who have been elected are real communists….. Those of them who were in Government showed all the characteristics of ministers instead of behaving as unchangeable revolutionaries like Castro”.

The CPM captured only three seats though it had set up 28 candidates. Last time the CPM MLAs numbered four. The main cause of its defeat was the Naxalites, who did not participate in the elections.

Actually any party which sets up a number of candidates can get a few seats-the Shoshit Dal has also got 6 seats.

In the triple-alliance (which was a complete failure) other parties, except the SSP, were the PSP and Lok Tantrik Congress. The former got 18 and the LTC 9 seats.

The Janata Party, in other words, the Raja of Ramgarh’s party, captured 14 seats. All the family members of the Raja won in the battle of ballots.

The BKD got six seats and other parties, including independent candidates, captured 33 seats. One seat out of the total of 319 is still to be filled, as the Congress candidate died suddenly. One member is to be nominated in the House of 320.

There is little hope of a stable government. The opposition cannot form any government without the help of both the Jana Sangh and the CPI. But before the elections they had declared that they would not cooperate with each other.

On the other side, the Congress (which can alone give stability!) is also not in a position to form a government without taking help of every candidate except those of the SSP, CPI and the JS. But even then it will get a majority of only two.

So the path is now open for defectors. Last time the BKD and the SSP produced the best defectors. This time we have to wait to see which party can produce defectors.

Every candidate tried to get votes on the basis of casteism, or by organising clashes in the booths. This is why Bihar led in poll clashes. Votes were sought for caste, not for party ideologies.

The total expense in this election in Bihar alone was a little less than Rs. three crores. Three crores which could give the poor some food and some more days to live, three crores which could…

The Prime Minister’s bill for her Bihar tour amounted to Rs. eight lakhs, which the PCC is unable to pay because of the lack of funds. This time the ‘Top Five’, including K.B. Sahay, are not helping the Congress.

Mrs Gandhi’s Ranchi visit, where she gave a 25-minute speech, cost more than Rs. 150,000. She, like her father is the rich Prime Minister of a poor country. One interesting fact. Wherever she went the Congress was defeated, although her meetings were always crowded.

The ‘Boycott Election’ slogan did not affect the people. Although every town and city was full of it, there was no activity in villages in favour of the slogan. Are the Naxalites also like the other political parties which do not like to go to villages (except at election time)?

However, not all the Naxalites were boycotting the elections. Some were seen active so that they could choose their cadets in the CPM line. Some were seen helping the Congress because “the Congress Government will open the path towards Revolution”. Some were seen working against the CPM because, “after defeat they will know the futility of elections”.

Frontier, 22 February, 1969

Frontier 22 Feb 1969

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