Politics of Bihar

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The Politics of Bihar, a state in eastern India, was characterised, in the early 2000s, by weak governance[1] and corrupt politicians.[2] Currently, there are four main political Parties: Rashtriya Janata Dal, Janata Dal (United), Bharatiya Janata Party and Lok Janshakti Party. All four along with some smaller regional parties like Rashtriya Lok Samata Party and Hindustani Awam Morcha are playing vital role in bihar politics. while Indian National Congress is a small player in Bihar Politics. Bihar is currently ruled by Janta Dal (United) and Bhartiya Janta Party coalition.

Administration and Governments[edit]

Vidhansabha Building, Patna

The constitutional head of the Government of Bihar is the Governor, who is appointed by the President of India. The real executive power rests with the Chief Minister and the cabinet. The political party or the coalition of political parties having a majority in the Legislative Assembly forms the Government.The first Chief Minister of Bihar was Sri Krishna Sinha & first Deputy Chief Minister was Dr Anugrah Narayan Sinha.

Previous Chief Minister Jitan Ram Manjhi, succeeded Nitish Kumar, who resigned after Lok Sabha Polls (General Elections) in 2014 taking responsibility of JDU's deplorable performance. Again Nitish Kumar became the Chief Minister of Bihar after Jitan Ram Manjhi was sacked.

The head of the bureaucracy of the State is called the Chief Secretary. Under him is a hierarchy of officials drawn from the Indian Administrative Service, Indian Police Service, and different wings of the State civil services. The judiciary is headed by the Chief Justice. Bihar has a High Court which has been functioning since 1916. All the branches of the government are located in the state capital, Patna.

The state is divided into 9 divisions and 38 districts, for administrative purposes. The various districts included in the divisions – Patna, Tirhut, Saran, Darbhanga, Kosi, Purnia, Bhagalpur, Munger and Magadh Division, are as listed below.



Bihar was an important part of India's struggle for independence. Gandhi became the mass leader only after the Champaran Satyagraha that he launched on the repeated request of a local leader, Raj Kumar Shukla, he was supported by great illumanaries like Dr. Rajendra Prasad, Dr. Anugrah Narayan Sinha and Brajkishore Prasad.

Post Independence : 1950–1975[edit]

The first Bihar governments in 1946 were led by two eminent leaders Sri Babu (Dr. Sri Krishna Sinha) and Anugrah Babu (Dr. Anugrah Narayan Sinha) who were men of unimpeachable integrity and great public spirit.They ran an exemplary government in Bihar.[3] After Independence of India, the power was shared by these two great Gandhian nationalists Dr. Sri Krishna Sinha who later became the first Chief Minister of Bihar and Dr. Anugrah Narayan Sinha who decidedly was next to him in the cabinet and served as the first Deputy Chief Minister cum Finance Minister of Bihar.Bihar was rated as the best administered among the states in the country at that time.In late 60's death of central railway minister late Mr. Lalit Narayan Mishra (who was killed by a hand grenade attack for which central leadership is blamed most of the time) pronounced the end of indigenous work oriented mass leaders. For two decades congress ruled the state with the help of puppet chief ministries hand in glove with the central government (Mrs. Indira Gandhi) ignoring the welfare of the people of the state. It was the time when a prominent leader like Satyendra Narayan Singh took sides with the Janata Party and deserted congress from where his political roots originated, following the ideological differences with the congress.

Bihar movement & Aftermath: 1975–1990[edit]

After independence also, when India was falling into an autocratic rule during the regime of Indira Gandhi, the main thrust to the movement to hold elections came from Bihar under the leadership of Jayaprakash Narayan. In 1974, JP led the student's movement in the state of Bihar which gradually developed into a popular people's movement known as the Bihar Movement. It was during this movement that Narayan gave a call for peaceful Total Revolution together with V. M. Tarkunde, he founded the Citizens for Democracy in 1974 and the People's Union for Civil Liberties in 1976, both NGOs, to uphold and defend civil liberties.On 23 January 1977, Indira Gandhi called fresh elections for March and released all political prisoners. Emergency officially ended on 23 March 1977.The Congress Party, suffered a defeat at the hands of the Janata Party coalition of several small parties created in 1977[4][5] and the alliance came to power, headed by Morarji Desai, who became the first non-Congress Prime Minister of India.[6] In Bihar, the Janata Party won all[7] the fifty-four Lok Sabha seats in 1977 general elections under the mentorship of Narayan and rose to power in Bihar assembly also. Karpoori Thakur became Chief Minister after winning a contest from the then Janata Party President Satyendra Narayan Sinha.

Bihar movement's campaign warned Indians that the elections might be their last chance to choose between "democracy and dictatorship."

This resulted in two things:

  • The identity of Bihar (from the word Vihar meaning monasteries) representing a glorious past was lost. Its voice often used to get lost in the din of regional clamour of other states, specially the linguistic states like Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh etc.
  • Bihar gained an anti-establishment image. The establishment-oriented press often projected the state as indiscipline and anarchy.[citation needed]

Idealism did assert itself in the politics from time to time, viz, 1977 when a wave defeated the entrenched Congress Party and then again in 1989 when Janata Dal came to power on an anti corruption wave. In between, the socialist movement tried to break the stranglehold of the status quoits under the leadership of Mahamaya Prasad Sinha and Karpoori Thakur. This could not flourish, partly due to the impractical idealism of these leaders and partly due to the machinations of the central leaders of the Congress Party who felt threatened by a large politically aware state. Communist Party in Bihar was formed in 1939. In the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s the Communist movement in Bihar was a formidable force and represented the most enlightened section in Bihar. The movement was led by veteran communist leaders like Jagannath Sarkar, Sunil Mukherjee, Rahul Sankrityayan, Pandit Karyanand Sharma, Indradeep Sinha, and Chandrashekhar Singh. It was under the leadership of Sarkar that the Communist party fought "total revolution" led by Jayprakash Narayan, as the movement in its core was anti-democratic and challenged the very fabric of Indian democracy.[citation needed]

Since the regional identity was slowly getting sidelined, its place was taken up by caste-based politics, power initially being in the hands of the Brahmins, Bhumihars and Rajputs.[citation needed]

Lalu's Politics : 1990–2004[edit]

Janata Dal came to power in the state in 1990 on the back of its victory at the national stage in 1989. Lalu Prasad Yadav became Chief Minister after winning the race of legislative party leadership by a slender margin against Ram Sundar Das, a former chief minister from the Janata Party and close to eminent Janata Party leaders like Chandrashekhar and S N Sinha. Later, Lalu Prasad Yadav gained popularity with the masses through a series of popular and populist measures. The principled socialists, Nitish Kumar included, gradually left him and Lalu Prasad Yadav was the uncrowned king by 1995 as both Chief Minister as well as the President of his party, Rashtriya Janata Dal. He was a charismatic leader who had people's support and Bihar had got such a person as the chief minister after a long time. But he couldn't bring the derailed wagon of development of the state on to the track. When corruption charges got serious, he quit the post of CM but anointed his wife as the CM and ruled through proxy. In this period, the administration deteriorated fast.

After 2004[edit]

2008 (Politics)[8]

By 2004, 14 years after Lalu's victory, The Economist magazine said that "Bihar [had] become a byword for the worst of India, of widespread and inescapable poverty, of corrupt politicians indistinguishable from mafia-dons they patronise, caste-ridden social order that has retained the worst feudal cruelties".[9] In 2005, the World Bank believed that issues faced by the state was "enormous" because of "persistent poverty, complex social stratification, unsatisfactory infrastructure and weak governance".[10]

In 2005, as disaffection reached a crescendo among the masses, middle classes included, the RJD was voted out of power and Lalu Prasad Yadav lost an election to a coalition headed by his previous ally and now rival Nitish Kumar. Nitish Kumar has regained Bihar's true identity, which is the place from where people who changed the world come like Gautam Buddha or Asoka or Sher Shah Suri or the Sikh Gurus. Despite the separation of financially richer Jharkhand, Bihar has actually seen more positive growth in recent years.

Currently, there are three main political formations: Janata Dal, Bharatiya Janata Party and the Rashtriya Janata Dal led coalition which also has the Indian National Congress. There are myriad other political formations. Ram Vilas Paswan led Lok Janshakti Party is a constituent of the NDA at the centre, and does not see eye to eye with Lalu Prasad Yadav's RJD in Bihar. Bihar People's Party is a small political formation in north Bihar. The Communist Party of India had a strong presence in Bihar at one time, but has got weakened now. CPM and Forward Bloc have minor presence. Ultra left parties like CPML, Party Unity etc. have presence in pockets and are at war with the state.

Election in Bihar[edit]

Assembly Election[edit]

Year Election Total Seat Winner Winner's seat Chief Minister Deputy Chief Minister 1st Runner up 2nd Runner up
1951 1st Assembly 331 1931 Flag of India.svg INC 239 Sri Krishna Sinha Anugrah Narayan Sinha ? ?
1957 2nd Assembly 318 1931 Flag of India.svg INC 210 Sri Krishna Sinha
Deep Narayan Singh
Binodanand Jha
Anugrah Narayan Sinha(died on 5 July 1957) ? ?
1962 3rd Assembly 318 1931 Flag of India.svg INC 185 Binodanand Jha
Krishana Ballabh Sahay
NONE ? ?
1967 4th Assembly 318 None NA Mahamaya Prasad Sinha, JKD
Satish Prasad Singh, INC
B. P. Mandal, INC
Bhola Paswan Shashtri, INC(O)
Karpuri Thakur (Demitted office on 31 January 1968) ? ?
1969 5th Assembly 318 None NA Harihar Singh, INC
Bhola Paswan Shashtri, INC(O)
President's rule
Daroga Prasad Rai, INC
Karpuri Thakur, Socialist Party
Bhola Paswan Shashtri, INC
NONE ? ?
1972 6th Assembly 318 Flag of the Indian National Congress.svg INC 167 Kedar Pandey
Abdul Gafoor
Jagannath Mishra
NONE ? ?
1977 7th Assembly 324 No flag.svg Janata Party ? Karpuri Thakur
Ram Sunder Das
NONE ? ?
1980 8th Assembly 324 Flag of the Indian National Congress.svg INC 169 Jagannath Mishra
Chandrashekhar Singh
NONE ? ?
1985 9th Assembly 324 Flag of the Indian National Congress.svg INC 197 Bindeshwari Dubey
Bhagwat Jha Azad
Satyendra Narayan Singh
Jagannath Mishra
NONE Janata Dal symbol.svg Lok Dal (46) No flag.svg IND (29)
1990 10th Assembly 324 Janata Dal symbol.svg Janata Dal 122 Laloo Prasad Yadav NONE Flag of the Indian National Congress.svg INC (71) BJP (39)
1995 11th Assembly 325 Janata Dal symbol.svg Janata Dal 167 Laloo Prasad Yadav
Rabri Devi
NONE BJP (41) Flag of the Indian National Congress.svg INC (29)
2000 12th Assembly 243 RJD Flag.svg RJD (103) with
Flag of the Indian National Congress.svg INC (14) and
? Rabri Devi NONE BJP (39) No flag.svg SAP (28)
2005 13th Assembly 243 None None President's rule NDA (92)
JanataDalUnitedFlag.PNG JD(U) (55)
BJP (37)
RJD Flag.svg RJD (75) with
Flag of the Indian National Congress.svg INC (10)
2005 14th Assembly 243 NDA
JanataDalUnitedFlag.PNG JD(U) (88)
BJP (55)
143 Nitish Kumar Sushil Kumar Modi RJD Flag.svg RJD (54)
Flag of the Indian National Congress.svg INC (10)
No flag.svg LJP (10)
2010 15th Assembly 243 NDA
JanataDalUnitedFlag.PNG JD(U) (115)
BJP (91)
206 Nitish Kumar, Jitan Ram Manjhi Sushil Kumar Modi RJD Flag.svg RJD (22)
No flag.svg LJP(3)
Flag of the Indian National Congress.svg INC (4)
2015 16th Assembly 243 NDA
JanataDalUnitedFlag.PNG JD(U) (71)
BJP (55)
178 Nitish Kumar Tejashwi Yadav, Sushil Kumar Modi RJD Flag.svg RJD (80)
No flag.svg JD(U)(71)
Flag of the Indian National Congress.svg INC (27)

General Election[edit]

Lok Sabha constituencies in Bihar
Year Lok Sabha Election Total Seats Winning Party/Coalition Winner's seat
1951 First Lok Sabha Indian National Congress
1957 Second Lok Sabha Indian National Congress
1962 Third Lok Sabha Indian National Congress
1967 Fourth Lok Sabha Indian National Congress
1971 Fifth Lok Sabha Indian National Congress
1977 Sixth Lok Sabha Indian National Congress
1980 Seventh Lok Sabha Indian National Congress (Indira)
1984 Eighth Lok Sabha Indian National Congress (Indira)
1989 Ninth Lok Sabha Indian National Congress (Indira)
1991 Tenth Lok Sabha Indian National Congress
1996 Eleventh Lok Sabha
1998 Twelfth Lok Sabha National Democratic Alliance
1999 Thirteenth Lok Sabha National Democratic Alliance
2004 Fourteenth Lok Sabha National Democratic Alliance
2009 Fifteenth Lok Sabha National Democratic Alliance

Political Parties in Bihar[edit]

National Party[edit]

Regional Party[edit]

See also[edit]

References and footnotes[edit]

  1. ^ "India Home". Worldbank.org.in. 31 May 2012. Retrieved 13 July 2012. 
  2. ^ Press Trust of India (25 February 2004). "Bihar a byword for worst of India: The Economist". Express India. Retrieved 13 July 2012. 
  3. ^ http://docslide.net/documents/bihar-558455b8f35fb.html
  4. ^ Gort, Jerald D.; Jansen, Henry; Vroom, H. M. (2002). Religion, conflict and reconciliation: multifaith ideals and realities. Rodopi. p. 246. ISBN 978-90-420-1460-2. 
  5. ^ Kesselman, Mark; Krieger, Joel; William A., Joseph (2009). Introduction to Comparative Politics: Political Challenges and Changing Agendas (5 ed.). Cengage Learning. p. 298. ISBN 978-0-547-21629-4. 
  6. ^ Namboodiripad, E.M.S. (9–22 August 1997). "The Opposition and the Left". Frontline; The Hindu. 14 (16). Retrieved 9 August 2010. 
  7. ^ "PD article:Janata Party won all Lok Sabha seats". Patna Daily. Archived from the original on 2010-12-30. Retrieved 29 March 2014. 
  8. ^ IOTY politics winner: Nitish Kumar – India News – IBNLive
  9. ^ "Bihar a byword for worst of India: The Economist". 
  10. ^ "World Bank Report : Bihar – Towards a Development Strategy". World Bank. 

10.Radhakanta Barik – Land & Caste Politics in Bihar (Shipra Publications, Delhi, 2006)

11.Jagannath Sarkar, "Many Streams" Selected Essays by Jagannath Sarkar and Reminiscing Sketches" Compiled by Gautam Sarkar Edited by Mitali Sarkar, First Published May 2010, Navakarnataka Publications Private Limited, Bangalore.

External links[edit]