The highlights of the upcoming Mahayudh.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chief Minister Nitish Kumar may refrain from invoking caste in the Bihar polls and choose to talk development, but getting the caste equation right seems to have been the principal factor in ticket distribution by the rival alliances.
The three parties, which have entered into a poll-pact for the 243 seats, have kept one seat – Rajgir – pending.
After the announcement of the list, Nitish stressed he would campaign in as much Assembly constituencies as possible and so would RJD boss Lalu. But LJP maintains all is well within the party.
Last but not the least is Shivsena, famed for catering to regional and ethnic interests in Maharashtra, and its antipathy to UP-Bihar migrants.
While JDU and RJD are contesting 101 seats each, Congress has put up 41 candidates. Shivsena may play spoilers for BJP like the third front, AIMIM, and the Left coalition might for Janata. Further, in only 18 seats that it won in 2010 will BJP actually face JD (U). But Nitish conceded this seat too to the RJD to facilitate Lalu’s favourite Shiv Chandra Ram (Yuva RJD’s state president) to contest from there. Fair enough!
So, while upper castes form the backbone of the BJP’s fight, Yadavs carry the torch for the Janata Alliance. The list of candidates released on Wednesday gave proportionate representation to OBC, upper castes, Schedules Castes but women candidates were largely ignored.
RJD President Lalu Prasad also described the jungle raj allegation as “a ploy to drive forward castes away from us”.
Of course, BJP is hardly the only party devoted to son-rising. Giving 47 tickets to this group is viewed as a counter to the politics of Union Minister Upendra Kushwaha and his RLSP. “It was he who announced that the dinner has been cancelled”, he said.
In an effort to reach out to the Other Backward Classes (OBC) members, the party has given 65 seats to their candidates.
It is also commensurate with the demographic proportions of the two communities. This continued even in the next term and by June 2013, several media reports suggest, that a total of 83,000 criminals had been prosecuted.
Why are Manjhi’s MLAs contesting on the BJP tickets? “It would set the fate of BJP in future elections”. Of these 134 BC candidates, as many as 64 seats have gone to the Yadavs.
Nitish Kumar has made it clear that improvement was the primary agenda for the polls whereas the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance was exclusively eager about creating divisions on the idea of faith and caste.