PATNA: In signs that caste divisions and demands for caste-based reservation may further impact Bihar politics, the state’s EBC communities on Sunday asserted their political aspirations at a rally organised here by their leader Mukesh Sahni and demanded immediate reservations for the Nishads.
“The Nishad community in Bihar has the power to change the shape of government in the state. All those who oppose this community’s demand for reservation will fall by the wayside in Bihar’s politics in the coming polls,” said Sahni, the founder and national president of Nishad Vikas Sangh (NVS).
Nearly 6,000 people belonging to the EBC Nishad castes from across Bihar attended the rally at Sri Krishna Memorial Hall and vowed to keep up the struggle till their castes are granted reservation as Scheduled Tribes (ST). Sahni, 37, said the time looked ripe for the Nishads being accorded reservation and that the community would support whichever party promised and facilitated it.
The Nishads, traditionally boatmen, are a group of over 20 sub-castes whose livelihood has been linked to the river. They are wooed by every political party during elections. Sahni claims to have brought all these sub-castes of about 1.75 crore people in Bihar under one organisation. The EBCs constitute about 30 per cent of the population of Bihar.