Criminalisation of politics
Looks like Shaibal Gupta is the person one should listen to, if one wants to know more about Bihar. He has spent more than twenty years trying to understand this state. In a Rediff interview, he talks about Bihar, with a clarity that comes from a deep understanding of one's subject. Read it!
One of the things that he says in this interview struck me very much. This is regarding the politician-criminal nexus. Gupta says:
This in a sense can be traced back to the JP (Jayaprakash Narayan) Movement (1973 to 1975). JP urged an end to all ideology and for the people to participate in politics sans ideology. At that time the socialists were very strong in Bihar but after JP's call, many people joined politics even if they did not believe in the party's ideology. What this did was destroy the party structure and prevent the party from having an organisation that could mobilise support. So after the JP Movement ended and politicians needed to mobilise support, they turned to local criminals who invariably had some kind of an organisation and the money and muscle power to mobilise support. Thus it was that the criminals became a part and parcel of Bihar's political set-up.
Interestingly, among my friends, it's precisely the Gurcharan Das admirers who invariably talk about the criminalisation of politics. Next time perhaps I should direct them to Shaibal Gupta's analysis!