PATNA: The victory of RJD in the Bochaha Assembly bypoll hints at the emergence of new social engineering in Bihar’s political arena. RJD candidate Amar Paswan won by more than 36,000 votes over his nearest rival Baby Kumari of BJP. Paswan polled 82,547 votes while Baby got 45,839 votes.
The RJD’s victory has demonstrated its ability to make inroads into the upper caste vote bank and also underlined the BJP’s vulnerability. A large chunk of upper caste Bhumihars are believed to have voted in favour of the RJD candidate. This shows the BJP can’t afford to be overconfident about the support of upper castes as they can shift their loyalty if their grievances are not addressed.
State RJD chief Jagadanand Singh claimed the impact of the party’s victory would be felt across the state. “Bochaha bypoll victory reflects people’s trust in Tejashwi Yadav’s leadership and their anguish against the Nitish Kumar-led NDA government,” he added. Voters from all social groups stood collectively against price rise, corruption, rising crime graph, hatred and unemployment, Singh claimed.
RJD candidate Amar Paswan, too, said people voted against NDA’s “misrule and corruption”. The RJD candidate’s huge victory margin is a pointer to the fact that the party bagged a huge number of non-MY votes. By stepping beyond its traditional Muslim-Yadav (MY) vote bank, RJD has taken a well-calculated risk, said political analyst Pramod Kumar.
Ever since RJD chief Lalu Prasad’s son Tejaswi Yadav started calling the shots in the party, he has been consistently focusing on an image makeover, making sure that the party should shed the tag of being a party of Muslims and Yadavs. In the recent MLC elections, the RJD had fielded a maximum number of upper caste candidates — five Bhumihars, four Rajputs and a Brahmin.
Even as the RJD continues to aggressively woo upper castes, itv is also taking full care that it does not face backlash from its traditional vote bank, particularly Yadavs. The BJP, which was apparently overconfident after its convincing victory in four Assembly elections recently, ultimately paid the price.
NEW SOCIAL ENGINEERING
Tejashwi Yadav, in his meetings with the leaders from his caste, always under-scores the point that RJD can’t form govern-ment in the state with the support of MY vote bank alone.