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Ally or foe? Facing BJP in poll-bound Assam and Bengal, JDU may walk on eggshells

Senior JD (U) leaders in Patna are tight-lipped over the tone and tenor of the party during campaigning in these two poll-bound states.

Published: 05th March 2021 01:20 PM  |   Last Updated: 05th March 2021 01:20 PM   |  A+A-

Bihar CM Nitish Kumar

Bihar CM Nitish Kumar (Photo | PTI)

Express News Service

PATNA: The Janata Dal (United) has decided to fly solo in the upcoming elections in Assam and West Bengal and has started chalking out electioneering strategies.

In Bengal, the party is likely to contest on 22 seats after identifying with a considerable number of voters from the Hindi speaking belt.  

Sources said that the JDU in West Bengal will focus its campaign on select seats by highlighting prohibition, ‘Har Ghar Jal’ Yojna, reservation for women in local bodies elections and the Nitish Kumar model of good governance prominently beside other localised issues.

But in the BJP-ruled Assam, all eyes will be on JD (U) when it comes to its campaigning. 

Senior JD (U) leaders in Patna are tight-lipped over the tone and tenor of the party during campaigning in these two poll-bound states. But some reliable sources have revealed that the party may toss up issues affecting the lives of locals.

In West Bengal and Assam, the JDU may want to avoid key poll issues such as inflation, unemployment and the CAA-NRC issues as Nitish Kumar has been more or less in tacit support with the BJP government. 

“But one thing is almost certain that JDU will avoid making a direct attack on the PM and other senior leaders of BJP in Assam and West Bengal as the relations between PM Modi and Nitish Kumar have been cordial over the last few years."

JDU forms upper caste cell to expand voter base

Meanwhile, after the recent poll debacle, the JD(U) has formed an 'Upper Caste Cell' for the first time as a part of its changing political strategies to accommodate upper caste votes, traditionally known to support the BJP.

In Bihar, the upper castes are considered to be the vote bank of the BJP as well as the JDU, but in the 2020 assembly elections, Nitish Kumar's party had to face displeasure from this class of voters.

The Bhumihars, a politically influential caste here, had recently started distancing from the Nitish Kumar-led JD(U) in the recent assembly elections. According to reports, 20% of Bhumihars voted in favour of RJD whereas a mere 3% went to JD(U).

In what seems like a masterstroke move, CM Nitish Kumar has appointed senior party leader Dr Nitish Kumar ‘Vimal’ as the president of Upper Caste Cell. Vimal belongs to
the influential Bhumihar caste.

According to some reports, some influential leaders of Bhumihar and upper castes will also go to Assam and West Bengal for campaigning because a major number of voters of upper castes from Bihar have migrated and settled in the two poll-bound states.

Leaders like Lalan Singh, Vijay Chaudhary, Vashistha Narayan Singh, Sanjay Jha who belong to Bhumihar, Rajput and Brahmin castes, are now involved in the major decisions of the JDU in order to keep the voters of these communities happy and have faith in the party.



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