Who Is Pushpam Priya Choudhary, Who Announced Herself to Be a CM Candidate in Bihar?

She announced her candidature – and her new political party, 'Plurals' – in a full-page newspaper ad.

Patna: On Sunday, a two-page advertisement published in multiple Hindi and English newspapers in Bihar became a talking point in political circles, on social media and in the mainstream media.

The ad depicts a woman standing in front of a library, with a black backdrop. To the right of the image it says, “You focus on climbing the ladder and let us deal with the snakes.”

The woman in the picture is Pushpam Priya Choudhary. In the ad, she calls herself the president of a newly floated political party called ‘Plurals’, and declares herself to be a chief ministerial candidate in the upcoming assembly elections in Bihar.

There is a punch line in the advertisement – “Bihar deserves better, and better is possible.”

The second page of the ad bears an open letter in Hindi addressed to the people of Bihar.

In the letter, she writes, “I have to change Bihar because I do not believe that the people of the world’s oldest republic are accursed to merely sing praises of their glorious past. I believe that Bihar too can have a future. What is that future? How can it be achieved? I and my party Plurals are the consolidated answer to these questions; we consider every person a goal in oneself, not just a means to attain those goals.”

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In the ad, Pushpam Priya promises that if she becomes chief minister, Bihar will become the most developed state in the country by 2025 and the development of the state will be at par with any European country by 2030.

A toll-free number is mentioned in the ad and an appeal has been made to join Plurals through it. However, if one dials the toll-free number, the call does not connect.

Immediately after the publication of the ad in the dailies, Pushpam Priya’s political connections surfaced – she is the daughter of former of Janata Dal (United) leader Vinod Kumar Choudhary. Vinod originally hails from Darbhanga’s Laheriasarai and has been a journalist for two decades. His father, Umakant Choudhary, a Brahmin, was a close ally of Nitish Kumar’s during the Samta Party days.

Vinod has two daughters. Pushpam Priya’s older sister is a civil servant in the UK. Pushpam received her early education from Darbhanga’s Holy Cross Missionary School. Later, she moved to Pune and then to London for higher education. In 2016, she completed her masters in development studies from the University of Sussex and then received a masters degree in public administration from the London School of Economics in 2019.

A poster announcing Plurals and inviting members. Photo: Twitter/Pushpam Priya Choudhary

Pushpam has spent a long time in London. Ever since she moved there to study, she has been back home only on very special occasions.

A look at Pushpam Priya’s Twitter handle reveals that she had been indicating that she was going to enter the fray in Bihar’s assembly polls since November last year. She tweeted several podcasts talking about the need for a change in Bihar’s politics.

Ever since her political connections came to the fore, debate is on about the stand her father, JD(U) leader Vinod, will take. When The Wire reached out to him, he said, “Everyone saw the advertisement, you must have seen it too. What else can be said about it? The ad makes it all clear.”

When he was asked for comments regarding his position as a JD(U) leader while his daughter has declared herself to be a chief ministerial candidate, he said, “My name is not mentioned in the entire advertisement, nor does it say anywhere that she is my daughter.”

Alluding to Vasundhara Raje Scindia and Jyotiraditya Scindia, he said, “It is not a big deal. It happens all the time in politics.”

He was asked if he had nothing to do with the ad. “Not at all,” he replied. “I have nothing to do with the ad. But she is my daughter, she is educated and can have her own way of thinking. My time is up (in politics). I am going to retire soon. I have no new thoughts and ideas any more. Fresh minds offer new ideas. Our honourable chief minister himself says that we have no dearth of acuity here.”

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Political analyst Mahendra Suman says, “Currently, all the leaders at the helm of politics in Bihar are a product of the 1974 movement. They are themselves rooting for space for the young generation in Bihar, while the latter are reclaiming that space. Pushpam is one of them. The youth have ambitions. There is nothing wrong about it.”

“I do not know how big a factor Pushpam Priya is going to be,” he adds. “But the way fresh faces are raising slogans of change in Bihar, it is clear that the state is staring at a leadership crisis.”

Umesh Kumar Ray is an independent journalist.

Translated from Hindi by Naushin Rehman.