Srinagar: The sweeping win of the Grand Alliance over the BJP, a part of the Jammu and Kashmir government, in Bihar has been widely welcomed in the Kashmir Valley.
Both commoners and separatists feel the rout of the Bharatiya Janata Party and its allies in the battle for the Bihar assembly is a positive development for national politics.
“The cow and communal politics will pay no political dividends to anyone except create tensions among followers of different faiths in India,” said Bashir Ahmad War, a retired government official here.
What has enthused Kashmiris is the belief that voters in Bihar broke the caste divide to vote en masse for the Grand Alliance of Chief Minister Nitish Kumar.
“Who said Yadavs, Kurmis, Kushwahas, Koeris and others always vote only for their caste in Bihar? Bihar has crossed barriers of caste and religion as all secular, right thinking people voted against communal forces,” said Nisar Hussain, a retired chief engineer.
“The Indian voter is now concerned about development, economy and preserving religious amity and trust,” he added.
Hardline separatist leader Syed Ali Geelani, who has traditionally been dismissive about electoral outcomes in the country, too welcomed the BJP’s defeat.
“The Bihar election verdict is welcome,” Geelani told a newspaper here. “Now people of India have started rejecting fascist and communal forces.
“The Bihar verdict will somehow guarantee security for the minorities in India,” he added.
The Bihar mandate came a day after Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced a much awaited economic package of Rs.80,000 crore for Jammu and Kashmir.
When the Bihar results came on Sunday, the PDP-BJP ruling coalition was celebrating the announcement of the economic package.
Former chief minister Omar Abdullah was among the first to telephone Nitish Kumar and congratulate him on his victory.
The perceived emergence of Nitish Kumar on the national scene after the Bihar outcome has come as a welcome development for the common Kashmiri.
Dozens of Bihari workers engaged in different professions in the Kashmir Valley are jubilant over the Bihar result.
“Most of us are Muslims… The victory of Lalu Prasad and Nitish Kumar is great news for all of us. We distributed sweets after the Nitish victory.” said Waseem, 24, a resident of Darbhanga in Bihar who works as a barber here.
The mood in the state BJP is sombre.
“We thought it was going to be neck and neck but the dismal performance of our party has come as a rude shock,” said a senior BJP leader who did not want to be named.
The BJP leader also blamed the present leadership for undermining the influence of the old guard — an apparent reference to L.K. Advani.
“We have to have a rethink. Old is gold. Distancing them from decision making has damaged the broad base of the BJP in the country,” said the BJP leader.