is one of the most complicated states in the country, where caste is presumed
to define the character of the politics. But in reality that is not the case.
It is class that dictates state politics. The Lok Sabha elections for 2019 in
Bihar promise to be a battle between the backward castes, dalits and upper
castes for the control of the state’s economy.
is a feeling among all the caste groups, irrespective of their class character
and economic status that caste-based coalition governments have not succeeded
in solving their issues. The backward castes and dalits with leaders like
Nitish Kumar, Sushil Modi and Ram Vilas Paswan believe that all the benefits
have been conned by the upper caste people, although a general impression has
been created that all the benefits are being given to the backwards and dalits.
has never been the political party of Bihar. Even today it does not reflect the
aspiration of the state’s people. It is an umbrella organisation of the upper
caste people, although they do not share a common perception about the party.
Of late the upper caste people have been weighing the option of deserting BJP
and JD(U) and to switch their loyalty to Congress. This may witness the revival
of Congress, but BJP is out to foil this move at any cost. The upper castes
deserted the Congress and switched over to BJP after the Congress leadership
aligned with the backward castes and dalits for its survival.
desertion of Congress could primarily be traced to the massacres that took
place in the seventies and eighties. The Congress leadership was vertically
split on caste lines. Bhumihars, Rajputs and Brahmins were pitted against the
Congress leaders of backward community. In those days Ram Lakhan Singh Yadav
was the prominent face of Congress. But he was embroiled in a caste war and was
accused of supporting Yadav mercenaries against the upper castes. This was the
beginning of the decline of Congress.
feudal elements that constituted the core of the Congress were aggrieved at the
passive attitude of the party. The upper caste population harboured the feeling
that their interests were not safe in the hands of the leadership. It was not
the ideological orientation or their turning to Hinduism that they became
members of the saffron brigade. Instead it was the sense of security that made
them don saffron.
recent months the upper caste electorates have got alienated from Nitish and
his government and come to strongly believe that he is not for them. All the
close associates of Nitish belong to the backward castes. The only backward
caste BJP leader to stay with Nitish was Sushil Mody. In fact, he is the leader
who had worked out the plan to bring Nitish closer to the BJP with the help of
Union minister Arun Jaitley and make him the chief minister though a number of
upper caste BJP leaders were opposed to this move.
some time Nitish has been trying to pamper and win over the upper caste people
especially the Bhumihars. To succeed in his mission he has been relying on his
old friend Lalan Singh but the Bhumihars do not trust him. Nitish’s game plan
to get more seats was to please the upper caste voters. But the fact is that
the Bhumihars feel more at ease with the BJP. Even Rajputs are not ready to
support Nitish. They foresee a Rajput-led BJP government.
Nitish claims to have managed to extract a 50:50 seat-sharing deal from Amit
Shah, the BJP is not willing to antagonise its upper caste support base, but it
is still not willing to disclose its cards.
in a significant development the RJD leadership has cautioned Congress against
any BJP plot to drive a wedge between them. Tejashvi believes that a
combination of Congress and RJD would certainly upset the calculations of the
BJP. To make the scenario worse for Nitish the state intelligence officials
have fed the chief minister with the information that a section of the upper
caste population is contemplating their allegiance to Congress. The Congress
cold shouldering Nitish has also received appreciation from the upper caste
people. (IPA Service)