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Understanding the Social and Political Dynamics of the 2015 Bihar Elections

Venue: Seminar Hall, 10 Floor, Pixel A, Azim Premji University
Date:Friday, October 9, 2015.
Time: 02.30pm – 04.30pm

The upcoming Bihar assembly elections are going to be a litmus test for both the NDA and the grand alliance consisting of the RJD, JDU and Congress. They are widely regarded as a test of the continuing power of the “Modi wave”, a plebiscite on the NDA government’s year and a half in power, and a verdict on the “Bihar model of development” credited to Nitish Kumar. The BJP’s mobilization of national and local resources to win these elections, the coming together of the hitherto arch-rivals, the RJD and JD (U), to counter this, and the caste, religious community, and regional equations emerging from these processes, all contribute to making this a dynamic and unpredictable election. This panel is aimed at deepening students’ understanding of the socio-political landscape of Bihar, the nature of these emerging trends, and what is at stake in these elections for Bihar and for the country.


Sanjay Kumar, Professor and Director, Centre for the Study of Developing Societies (CSDS) Delhi. As an expert in survey research, Professor Kumar has directed various National and State level studies conducted by the CSDS, which include the National Election Studies, (NES) 1998, 1999, 2004, 2009 and 2014, various round of bi-annual ‘State of the Nation Survey’ and various State level studies. In addition to election studies, he has carried out survey based studies on Indian Youth, State of Democracy in South Asia, State of Slums of Delhi, State of Indian Farmers and Issues of Electoral Violence. He is currently coordinating the CSDS Bihar election survey. Professor Kumar’s recent books include an edited volume Indian Youth and Electoral Politics: An Emerging Engagement; Changing Electoral Politics in Delhi: From Caste to Class; and (with Praveen Rai) Measuring Voting Behaviour in India.

Dilip C. Mandal, Senior Journalist. Mr. Mandal is a well-known political journalist and commentator. He was Former Managing Editor, India Today Group (Hindi Magazine and, and Former Editor Economictimes Hindi online and ETinfotech Hindi.

Bishnu Mohapatra, Professor, Azim Premji University. Professor Mohapatra researches and teaches on various aspects of Indian politics, including minority rights, the role of dissent, democracy and its constitutive link with ethnic diversities, and identity and nationalism, and has published widely on these topics. He is also a well-known poet who writes in Odia.

Moderator: Nilotpal Kumar, Assistant Professor, Azim Premji University. Dr. Kumar teaches in the area of development sociology. His research is on regional agrarian political economy and culture. He is also interested in subaltern politics.

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