NDA Floats Extremely Backward Caste Name for Bihar CM

What has JD(U) worried and led to the demand that BJP/NDA “better come clean’’ instead of resorting to “whisper campaign’’.

Published: 14th October 2015 03:58 AM  |   Last Updated: 14th October 2015 09:56 AM   |  A+A-

PATNA: With Bihar getting ready for the second round of polling in 32 constituencies of south-western Bihar on October 16, the JD(U) on Tuesday demanded the BJP/NDA come clean on their chief ministerial candidate for Bihar.

This sudden demand from the ‘grand alliance’ came close on the heels of BJP leader, sitting Gaya MLA, Prem Kumar’s name getting floated as the chief ministerial choice.

This was, primarily, based on a statement by BJP leader Shahnawaz Hussain. Prem Kumar was also reportedly found sitting close to Prime Minister Narendra Modi every time he came to campaign in Bihar, adding grist to rumours.

What has JD(U) worried and led to the demand that BJP/NDA “better come clean’’ instead of resorting to “whisper campaign’’, is the fact that Prem Kumar is a Chandravanshi, a community which has 8-11 per cent vote within the EBCs (extremely backward caste) bracket.


For Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, and therefore JD(U), the EBCs are a crucial element of their electoral arithmetic and caste calculus. Considered to be the biggest caste-block—32 per cent as per 1931 census—the EBCs are, in fact, seen to be the deciding factor of this election.

Though the term EBC was politically popularised and the community carefully nurtured as a JD(U) vote-bank by Kumar, the BJP made inroads into that voter-base in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections.

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The EBC votes are getting divided in this assembly elections too, and whichever side—the grand alliance or the NDA—gets the bigger percentage of those votes, can safely win the elections, explains Sibal Gupta, a leading Patna-based social scientist. He, however, adds that Chandravanshis—Prem Kumar’s sub-community among the EBCs—are with the BJP in any case. “They have been empowered and have fairly good representation in the state power,’’ Gupta adds.

JD(U) leader Navin Kumar Arya, an EBC himself, sees a BJP ploy in floating Prem Kumar’s name as their CM candidate, at this juncture. “They will not announce, but whisper it, and still it will work as a swing factor,’’ adds Arya. This, especially, in the second phase where BJP is seen to have an edge over the ‘grand alliance’, indicates trouble. Hence, the angry protests, despite a clarification from Hussain to the contrary.

Also going by what BJP chief Amit Shah had to state countering Chief Minister Nitish Kumar’s ‘Bahari vs Bihari’ barb, referring to PM Narendra Modi and Shah as ‘outsiders’, the NDA candidate for the top job in the event of a victory, has not been decided yet. “He (Kumar) says we’re Bahari (outsiders). But when we choose a chief minister for Bihar, can he be from outside?. He’ll be a Bihari,’’ is all Shah said on Tuesday.


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