Politics

LSE alumna’s party: Where ‘Bihari’ is the only religion

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(This story originally appeared in on Oct 22, 2020)

NEW DELHI: A newbie political party, Plurals, floated by a former alumna of London School of Economics, is contesting all 243 seats in and grabbing eyeballs on social media for its offbeat approach.

The party was launched on International Women’s Day (March 8) this year with an ad blitz in major English and Hindi newspapers published from the state. The promo featured its founder Pushpam Priya Chaudhary standing in front of a bookshelf with the catchline “Bihar deserves better. And better is possible”.

“We study Bihar as an example of a failed democracy. Development indices don’t matter here because the population has stopped expecting anything from politicians. We want to change that,” Priya told TOI on phone.

The daughter of JD(U) politician Vinod Chaudhary returned from London in November last year and toured Bihar. She claimed to tour Bihar thereafter to develop a better understanding and grasp of the state’s problems. The party’s mission, as stated on its website, is “complete transformation of Bihar”. In its manifesto, the party has promised to lift prohibition, create jobs for 80 lakh people and end VIP culture.

The party has also started grabbing eyeballs on social media. On Facebook, it has a following of over 1 lakh, while on Twitter it is followed by over 27,000. Priya herself has over 1 lakh followers on the microblogging platform. Their candidates list generated a lot of buzz online. The list did not reveal the candidates’ religions. Instead, all candidates wrote ‘Bihari’ in that particular column. In place of their castes, they mentioned their professions — bankers, teachers, doctors. The party also claims to provide an equal number of tickets to women.

“Plurals may not be able to create a dent this time but they have been raising the issues masses connect with. They have been talking about eliminating corruption, strengthening women’s safety and creating jobs. They are working on a novel idea and that has created a buzz,” said political scientist Shaibal Gupta, member-secretary of Patna’s Asian Development Research Institute.

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