“Badh Chala Bihar,” assures the banner of the ruling Janata Dal United party. “Parivartan,” screams an NDA poster.
We ask Manoj Bajpayee what he thinks his home state really wants.
“Biharis are by nature socially and politically aware. One thing is certain – they cannot be fooled. In some cases, caste equations dominate the election, but mostly they know their mind about social and political issues, and cannot be fooled by politicians or parties,” says the 46-year-old actor.
What is the psyche of the Bihari voter, we probe further.
“They want jobs… people here are good in studies. They want employment so that they don’t need to leave home in search of jobs. They want electricity, water and roads.”
Many in Bihar would say it is alliances, not promises, that decide who wins, we argue.
The actor demurred: “Every five years the alliances change. It is not my concern, nor does it concern people. What concerns us is will the promises be fulfilled or not.”
Manoj left his struggle for a better life behind when he travelled from hometown Bettiah in Champaran to chase his lifelong dream – of becoming an actor. The fight continued for some years but he was finally rewarded, without the backing of a godfather or an influential last name, proving that talent speaks for itself.
As he returns briefly to the state he calls home, Manoj says he now has dreams for Bihar.
“I want Bihar cleansed of corruption and caste-based politics, which is hampering its development. We need to go beyond caste-based politics,” he commented.
So what is “Bihariyat”, we ask him.
Manoj laughs: “Real , rooted and knowledgeable.”