Bihar alliances use caste as prime card

Taking cue from last elections, all political parties are placing their major bets on the ‘Yadav’ community but is this a wise strategy? In the total list of candidates who have filed for nominations for 49 seats in the first phase of elections, 89 are candidates of the Yadav community, which shows a heavy reliance on the Yadav candidates by almost all parties.

Each party has its own agenda and strategy. Lalu Prasad Yadav’s RJD wants to consolidate its hold on the Yadav community and remain relevant as its biggest champion. The BJP wants to woo the Yadav community to break Lalu’s, and by extension, RJD’s hold over the Yadav vote bank. Mulayam Singh Yadav wants to break Lalu’s stranglehold on the community and wants to prove a point that all Yadavs don’t necessarily believe that Lalu is their true champion. Each has his own reason but all centric to the Yadav vote bank.

The numbers speak for themselves. RJD has given tickets to 48 Yadav candidates, while BJP has offered tickets to 22 Yadav candidates. JD(U) is fielding 12 Yadav nominees. The Third Front has said that it would put up a Yadav candidate against all nominees of Lalu Prasad’s RJD. This seems to a reactive strategy than any specific poll plan.

It is true that during the 2010 Assembly polls, 39 Yadav candidates won. Of these 27 were part of NDA, 10 were from RJD, therefore it is understandable that all parties are placing large bets on Yadav candidates to deliver. But are they ignoring some ground realities. As seen during 2014 Lok Sabha polls, the Yadav youth voted mainly for the NDA on back of the Modi wave. This time there is no Modi wave but the youth are no longer influenced by traditional caste politics and are leaning more towards issue-based politics that goes beyond caste. Thanks to social and electronic media, their ability to influence opinion is far greater today that it was in 2010. While the youth is being represented to some extent, with only limited tickets being offered to women, have all parties overdone the Yadav factor?

Rahul Gandhi to return to poll campaigning post 28 Sept  

In wake of much avoidable controversy regarding Rahul Gandhi’s trip to the US, reports suggest that he is likely to return on 28 Sept and rejoin the campaign trail in Bihar. Issuing a clarification on his absence from Rahul’s West Champaran rally, Nitish Kumar said that he had requested the Congress to postpone the rally as it was clashing with ticket allocation and announcements and he was needed there. Since Congress refused to change the rally date, he was forced to give it the go. He, however, has called on all alliance partners to campaign actively in all 243 constituencies in an all-out effort. Sonia Gandhi too is expected to join the effort.

Meanwhile, Narendra Modi is expected to hit the road in Bihar with a rally on 2 October.

EC’s vigilance is paying off; major cash, liquor and arms haul

The IT department in Kolkata seized Rs 27 crore in cash apparently meant for Bihar polls. Two persons were detained and have confirmed that the cash was meant for poll distribution. The cash was stuffed into bags and was to be transported to Bihar by train.

Meanwhile, the police in Bihar, under EC office supervision, have seized Rs 11.91 lakh in cash, 18,685 litres of liquor and all kinds of arms and ammunition from various parts of Bihar. An illegal minigun factory and an illegal liquor distillery was discovered and shut down in Khagaria district.

Traditionally, these have played a big part in polls in Bihar, with all kinds of ‘Bahubalis’ ruling the streets and dictating to voters on who they should vote for. Not this time, as most Bahubalis are either behind bars or have been warned against any untoward activity by the EC office and police. The shadow of candidates having a criminal past getting party tickets has been a worrying trend. In the last poll of 2010, no less than 124 MLAs had declared to the EC that they had criminal cases pending against them, with 85 having serious criminal cases involving murder, attempt to murder, kidnapping, extortion etc.

Politician in focus: Santosh Kumar, JD(U)   (Born 5 Feb 1976)

Santosh Kumar is the sitting MP in 16th Lok Sabha from Purnia constituency. He was born in Kochelli in Purnia district to Nevilal Vishwas and Ramsakhi Devi. He completed his B.A. from S.N.S.Y College in Rambagh, Purnia. Deeply inspired by Ram Manohar Lohia and Jayaprakash Narayan, Santosh Kumar entered politics during his college days. While in college, he was a social activist conducting health camps and organising talks on various issues. His other interests include reading political biographies and autobiographies.

Between 2010 and 2014, he was a Member of the Bihar Legislative Assembly. As an MP, he has served on various Committees.

Constituency in focus: Jhajha

Jhajha city is spread over 9.87 km and is part of Jamui district, close to the Jharkhand border. The city is home to two bird sanctuaries – Nagi and Nakti Dam Bird Sanctuaries. Surrounded by low hills, the green city is well connected by rail and road.

As per Census 2011, the population of Jhajha city is 40,646 persons, of which 21,406 are males and 19,240 are females.

2010 Assembly Election Results

  • Winner in 2010 Assembly Poll: Damodar Rawat, JD(U)
  • Margin of win: 10,204 votes;  8.22% of total valid votes
  • Runner-up: Binod Prasad Yadav, RJD
  • Male voters: 67,076; Female voters: 57,034; Total: 124,114
  • Polling %: 51.62
  • Male Candidates who contested: 18 ; Female Candidates: 0
  • Polling stations: 269

Related Information:
Bihar Elections 2015
Bihar Election Updates
Bihar Election Dates
Candidate List for Bihar Assembly Elections 2015
List of Assembly Constituencies of Bihar
Bihar Election Results
Political Parties of Bihar
Who will be the next CM of Bihar?
List of Chief Ministers (CM) of Bihar
Government and Politics of Bihar
List of Governors of Bihar
Bihar Map