Shaibal Gupta, social scientist at Asian Development Research Institute, spoke to Down to Earth on Bihar polls

Shaibal Gupta, social scientist at Asian Development Research Institute, spoke to Down to Earth on Bihar polls

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published Published on Nov 10, 2020   modified Modified on Nov 11, 2020

-Down to Earth

Shaibal Gupta, social scientist at Asian Development Research Institute, spoke to DTE on Bihar polls and its national importance

It is D-day after the first election in India amid the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic. The process of counting the votes cast in the Bihar Assembly elections started November 10, 2020 morning. But an increased number of electronic voting machines have slowed the process down and only about a quarter of the votes could reportedly be counted by early afternoon.

The ruling National Democratic Alliance dominated the trends, thanks to several leads by the Bharatiya Janata Party; but Chief Minister Nitish Kumar’s Janata Dal (United) was not being able to match up.

On the other hand, main challenger Tejashwi Yadav’s Rashtriya Janata Dal was running second with little support from chief ally Congress though the Left parties were putting up a stellar show.

After long, these state elections were about issues of the common man — jobs, education, health, etc — in which Bihar has lagged behind considerably. Down To Earth spoke to social scientist Shaibal Gupta, who has been known to have advised Kumar earlier, on the issues that matter. Edited excerpts:

Imran Khan: How are the state assembly elections going to be critical for Bihar and its development?

Shaibal Gupta: The polls are significant for we were experiencing an economic slowdown well before the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic struck. There was a general decline in India.

The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated the process of decline. The critical question is how we are managing the pandemic as well as India’s most severe economic slide.

The most important question in the election is whether the new government would be able to bring economic resurgence. Until and unless that is done, we would not be able to make a breakthrough.

A lot of welfare measures have been initiated and implemented in Bihar by Nitish Kumar. His government did a lot of work, but a sense of ownership is absent. There needs to be a sense of economic empowerment.

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Image Courtesy: Asian Development Research Institute


Down to Earth, 10 November, 2020, https://www.downtoearth.org.in/interviews/governance/migration-crisis-wasn-t-handled-well-by-nitish-government-shaibal-gupta-74165?fbclid=IwAR0hNJIQy5277viq2aMrF9kQ0YooobxmjLlkcz46WJg8fFEhvP78715KNCA


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