Caste factor evident in Nitish-Lalu list

We have ensured representation for all, says Bihar CM

Updated - December 04, 2021 11:33 pm IST

Published - September 23, 2015 11:09 pm IST - Patna:

Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar addressing a press conference at the JD (U) office in Patna on Wednesday. Photo: Ranjeet Kumar

Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar addressing a press conference at the JD (U) office in Patna on Wednesday. Photo: Ranjeet Kumar

Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar said on Wednesday development would be the central poll plank, while releasing the list of candidates for the grand alliance, but the list revealed that he and his alliance partner Lalu Prasad of the RJD have done extensive “caste calculus and social engineering” while deciding the candidates.

242 candidates

Mr. Kumar, JD(U) leader, announced the list of 242 candidates out of the 243 Assembly seats, leaving the Rajgir (reserved) seat in his home town Nalanda district, which will be declared “in a day or two.” Mr. Prasad was not present.

“We have tried to ensure representation for all sections,” Mr. Kumar said. The list has 55% candidates from the Other Backward Classes, 16% from Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes, 14% of Muslims, 16% from general upper caste and 10% of women candidates.

Out of the 242 candidates declared 134 are from the Backward Classes, including 64 Yadavs (Lalu Prasad’s caste), 22 Kushwahas, 16 Kurmis (Nitish Kumar’s caste), and 40 from Extremely Backward Castes. For the upper castes the alliance has given 13 seats to Bhumihars, 12 to Rajputs, nine to Brahmins and five to Kayasthas. Altogether, 33 seats have been given to Muslims and 25 to women.

The list showed that Mr. Nitish Kumar has given more seats to his core caste base, Kurmi and Kushwaha, while Mr. Prasad has relied heavily on his votebank of Yadavs and Muslims.

Political observer and social commentator N.K. Chaudhury told The Hindu, that “it’s out and out a caste-based list of candidates and nothing else.”

Under the seat-sharing arrangement, both the JD(U) and RJD will be contesting 101 each, while the Congress would put up candidates in 41 seats.

Elections will be held in five phases from October 12 to November 5 and counting of votes will be done on November 8.

‘RSS BJP’s SC’

On the occasion, Mr. Nitish Kumar hit out at the BJP and the RSS on the reservation issue and said the RSS is the ideological mentor of the BJP. “What is the power of the BJP in front of the RSS…the RSS is like the Supreme Court of the BJP and now they seek to install an extra-constitutional body to review reservation.”

“It is clear that he [RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat] feels the current policy of reservation is not right and wants some other system”, said Mr. Kumar, reading out excerpts of his interview from the organisation’s journals “Organiser” and “Panchjanya.”

The RJD has fielded Subedar Das against the former Chief Minister and leader of the Hindustani Awam Morcha (Secular) Jitan Ram Manjhi in Makhdumpur and the JD(U) has named Speaker Uday Narayan Chaudhury against Mr. Manjhi in Imamganj.

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