Bihar: ‘Girls are silent this time’ observers declare

Vibha Sharma
Tribune News Service
New Delhi, November 3

Speaking in Bihar on Sunday and today, Prime Minister Narendra Modi made several references to ‘maa, behan and betis’ and their ‘ashirvaad’ (blessings) for the NDA in these elections.

In Forbesganj on Tuesday, lauding the good voter turnout in difficult Covid times and asserting that “NDA is definitely forming the next government”, the prime minister said he has been following in the social media what women have been saying.

“Mahilaon ka kehna hai ghar walon ko jo karna hai karenge main to Modi ke saath chalungi (women are saying that others in the household can do what they want, I will go with Modi)…. Bihar ki har maa aur beti NDA ko ashirvaad de rahi hai (All mothers and daughters of Bihar are giving blessings to the NDA),” he said, referring to himself as a “gareeb maa ka beta” (son of a poor mother).

On Sunday, he attributed the good turnout in Phase-1 to ‘maa’, ‘behan’ and ‘betis’ of Bihar.

“Women are ensuring NDA’s win,” he said, going on to ask ‘maa’ to prepare for upcoming “Chhath puja” as her son in Centre was looking after her interests.

Though the BJP/NDA appears to be quite upbeat about forming the next government in Bihar, political observers engaged with grass-roots are talking of what they refer as “silence of women voters in these elections”.

The “silence” may be a cause of worry for Chief Minister Nitish Kumar for whom increase in voting by women is among the reasons attributed for his repeated successes, they say.

For the BJP, the Bihar elections are a verdict on not just the performance of the Nitish Kumar government but also one on the Centre and its performance during the Covid times, jobs, economy, welfare schemes etc.

This is believed to be the reason for the special attention on women, a section which many say often works independent of usual caste-based voting patterns

Nitish Kumar’s decision to impose prohibition was said to be guided by the opinion of this very support base which constitutes around 47 per cent of voters.

However, prohibition is a move he doesn’t talk about much primarily “because there is not much there to talk about” say observers.

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