RJD's Mahadalit gambit may not pay off in Bihar

EBCs - an umbrella of some 100 castes and totalling 22 per cent of Bihar voters - have split almost evenly between parties, but to NDA’s advantage lately.

Published: 14th February 2020 09:26 AM  |   Last Updated: 14th February 2020 09:26 AM   |  A+A-

RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav

RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav. (File photo| PTI)

Express News Service

PATNA: Early last week, the RJD created a huge flutter by decidedly opting for a larger co-option of extremely backward castes (EBCs) to counter the Nitish Kumar-led NDA’s sway over 45 per cent OBC-EBC vote base in Bihar. The move was a conscious effort by the RJD to change its image as a Muslim-Yadav combine, which founder Lalu Prasad used as the party bedrock since 1990. 

The RJD overhaul of 38 district units saw as many as 14 EBCs taking charge as presidents, with 11 Yadavs, 7 Muslims and Dalits for a new caste Mahagathbandhan. EBCs - an umbrella of some 100 castes and totalling 22 per cent of Bihar voters - have split almost evenly between parties, but to NDA’s advantage lately.

The configuration of 22 per cent EBCs with OBC (23 per cent) formations minus Yadavs (13 per cent) have stood by NDA, though they transferred votes to the Mahagathbandhan in 2015 when Nitish joined RJD-Congress against NDA formation of the BJP, Ram Vilas Paswan’s LJP and Upendra Kushwaha’s RLSP. It proved that appropriate caste combinations could trump religion-based politics. 

However, Nitish quitting Mahagathbandhan to re-join the NDA has created a powerful phalanx of upper castes with EBC-OBCs. There is little RJD potential to split Brahmins, Rajputs, Bhumihars and Kayasthas - 80 per cent of whom vote NDA.

Current a rudderless RJD with Lalu in jail, his younger son and political heir Tejashwi Yadav having little acceptance outside, and the party’s first family embroiled in IT, ED and domestic violence cases, the Mahagathbandhan of RJD, HAM, VIP, RLSP and Congress is in no shape to challenge the NDA or split the EBC-OBC vote bank.

The Congress is also likely to contest alone in 2020 and could force a three-way fight, which can only bolster the NDA. The opposition can’t match Nitish's record of piped water and power, prohibition, wiping out organised crime, 50 per cent reservation to women and EBCs in panchayats either, Post Delhi poll drubbing, the BJP has no choice but to accept Nitish as the NDA leader and unanimous CM face.

Stay up to date on all the latest Nation news with The New Indian Express App. Download now
(Get the news that matters from New Indian Express on WhatsApp. Click this link and hit 'Click to Subscribe'. Follow the instructions after that.)

Comments

Disclaimer : We respect your thoughts and views! But we need to be judicious while moderating your comments. All the comments will be moderated by the newindianexpress.com editorial. Abstain from posting comments that are obscene, defamatory or inflammatory, and do not indulge in personal attacks. Try to avoid outside hyperlinks inside the comment. Help us delete comments that do not follow these guidelines.

The views expressed in comments published on newindianexpress.com are those of the comment writers alone. They do not represent the views or opinions of newindianexpress.com or its staff, nor do they represent the views or opinions of The New Indian Express Group, or any entity of, or affiliated with, The New Indian Express Group. newindianexpress.com reserves the right to take any or all comments down at any time.

flipboard facebook twitter whatsapp