Ups and downs of power politics in Bihar - I

Prabhat Kishore
After the independence of India, Bihar has witnessed ups and downs of various political parties as well as leaders. In the pre-Mandal era, ie before 1990,  power politics was dominated by the Congress Party as a political institution and the upper castes in terms of leadership. In the post-Mandal era, the scenario completely reversed and it is being dominated by two powerful regional socialist background parties RJD and JDU under the leadership of Laloo Prasad and Nitish Kumar respectively, both belonging to backward classes.
Before the first general election in 1952, Sri Krishna Singh, a Bhumihar leader, led the provincial Governments in Bihar since 20th July 1937 to 31st October 1939 and 2nd April 1946 to 1952. His leadership continued after 1952 and 1957 Vidhan Sabha elections till his demise on 31st January 1961;  although, dissident activities have been unsuccessfully launched by his deputy and Finance Minister Anugrah  Narayan Sinha, a Rajput leader. After the demise of Sri Babu, Deep Narayan Singh, a Rajput, served as acting CM since 1st February 1961 to 18th February 1961. Blessed with the Central leadership, Binoda Nand Jha,  a Brahmin, was elected as leader of Congress Legislature Party and sworn in as the CM on 18th February 1961. In 1962, third general election was fought under the leadership of Pandit Jha  and he continued as CM after the election.
The dissident activities were intensified by Satyen-dra Narayan Sinha, son of Late Anugrah Narayan Sinha, and consequently BN Jha had to step down under the “Kamraj Yojana” of the Congress Party. Following his resignation, for the first time in the history of Congress, election for the leader of the legislature party was held between two social group candidates Birchand Patel, a Kurmi (supported by BN Jha) and Krishna Balabh Sahay, a Kayasth (supported by SN Sinha). Birchand Patel lost due to betrayal of  some of his close associates. KB Sahay led the Government from 2nd October 1963 to 5th March 1967.
After a long span of 20-years after independence, about 85% backward & Dalit  population were bereft of not only in the Government services & institutions, but in every walk of life. Intensive campaign for their awakening as well as reservation in Government jobs & institutions was being carried out by Congress leader Deo Sharan Singh, a Kurmi (Ex-chairman of Bihar Vidhan Parishad) under the banner of “Backward Foundation”. In the meantime, experiment of “backwardism” for political control was being done by the socialists like Ram Manohar  Lohia and Bhola Prasad Singh with the slogan “Sansopa Ne Bandhi Ganth, Pichhra Pawe Sau Mein Santh”. Under such circumstances, the third general election of 1967 proved to be a  “political waterloo”.
The Congress fell short of the majority figure and lost power in several States including Bihar.
The first non-Congress Government was sworn in on 5th March 1967 under the leadership of Mahamaya Pd Sinha, a Kayasth, of Jan Kranti Dal. The alliance was a mix up of conflicting ideology parties like Jansangh, Samyukt Socialist Party (SSP), Praja Socialist Party (PSP), Communist Party and Kamakhya Narayan Sinha,  ex-King of Ram-garh. It was very tedious for Mahamaya Babu to keep these ideologically opposite parties united for long time and  ultimately, the Government fell by 13 votes in the Vidhan Sabha on 25th January 1968. Bindeshwari  Prasad Mandal (the chairman of Mandal Commission) was an SSP MP and joined Mahamaya Pd. Ministry, but was not elected as MLA or MLC. To become a member of Vidhan Mandal his 6-month deadline was only 10 days left. On the initiative of Congress,  BP Mandal, a Yadav, formed “Shoshit Samaj Dal” to become the CM. So, first Satish Pd Singh, a Koiri, of  his party was sworn in as  the CM, whose tenure was for just 5 days (28th Jan 1968 to 1st Feb 1968) and  Sri Mandal was nominated to the Vidhan Parishad.
(To be contd)