The much-awaited results of the caste survey in Bihar which has been made public, strengthening CM Nitish Kumar and RJD Chief Lalu Prasad Yadav, who were one of the prime supporters of the move. It is widely taken as a move to empower the ruling Mahagathbandhan’s social support base among Other Backward Classes (OBCs), Economically Backward Classes (EBCs) and Dalits, fulfilling a significant promise to these communities ahead of the 2024 Lok Sabha elections. According to the Bihar caste survey, there are 215 castes in Bihar. The total population of Bihar is 13.7 crore (137 million) that include 36 percent EBCs, 27 percent OBCs, 19 percent Scheduled Castes and 1.68 percent Scheduled Tribes. The caste survey report revealed that the population of upper castes is 15.52 percent, including 2.86 percent Bhumihars, 3.66 percent Brahmins, 3.45 percent Rajputs and 0.60 percent Kayasths. As per the report CM Nitish Kumar’s Kurmi caste numbers at 2.87 percent. RJD chief Lalu Prasad’s Yadav caste numbers at 14.26 percent, one of the highest among all the castes. State Bharatiya Janata Party President Samrat Kushwaha’s Koeri or Kushwaha (OBC) caste numbers at 4.21 percent. The report revealed that Bihar’s Hindu population is 81.9 percent followed by 17.7 percent Muslims, 0.05 percent Christians, 0.01 percent Sikhs, 0.08 percent Buddhists, 0.0096 percent Jains and the rest from other religions. Nitish Kumar’s party, the JD(U), has called the survey a victory of social justice and said it would open new avenues of progress and prosperity for the Extremely Backward Classes. On the other hand, RJD has an edge and is bound to raise the chorus for Tejashwi Yadav to head the ruling coalition, if not now, then in the next assembly election, provided Nitish Kumar stays with the Mahagathbandhan till then. In days to come, the caste factor is going to dominate the political discourse as parties have been adopting numerous strategies as to gear up for the year-end assembly elections and the 2024 Lok Sabha elections.
RAHUL OFFERS SERVICE AT GOLDEN TEMPLE SHRINE, SERVES ROTI AT LANGAR
Congress leader and Member of Parliament Rahul Gandhi picked a spiritual trip to the Golden Temple (Harmandir Sahib) – Sikhism’s holiest shrine in Punjab’s Amritsar – where he offered sewa at the community kitchen, carried the Palaki Sahib on his shoulder, served rotis at the langar and shared food with them. Although all corporation was extended to Rahul by SGPC during his visit to the Darbar Sahib, it also raked up 1984 anti Sikh riots. It appears that through offering service at the Golden Temple, a silent message of penance from Rahul Gandhi has been delivered, the political importance of which can’t be ignored in the run-up to the 2024 parliamentary poll. Meanwhile in 2005, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had apologised to members of Parliament and the nation for the riots. Earlier, former Congress president Sonia Gandhi had also expressed regrets. This year, during his ‘Bharat Jodo Yatra’, Rahul Gandhi had endorsed the position of Manmohan Singh on the 1984 riots, as well as by Mrs. Sonia Gandhi. However, Rahul has tried to involve with the Sikh community many times and he is making rigorous efforts to build a bridge.
BIHAR CASTE CENSUS PUTS PRESSURE ON YOGI GOVT TO DO THE SAME IN UP
The results of the Bihar caste survey have put immense pressure on the Yogi Adityanath-led government in Uttar Pradesh, where not only the Opposition parties, but also the allies of the ruling BJP are unanimous in carrying out for a caste count in the state. Union Minister Anupriya Patel, who belongs to the Apne Dal (Sonelal), demanded a caste census and is looking forward to know the exact statistics of the OBC population, so that their problems could be addressed effectively. All three allies of the BJP rely on OBC communities for support: the Suheldev Bharatiya Samaj Party (SBSP) is dominated by the Rajbhar, an OBC caste, and is led by Om Prakash Rajbhar; the Nishad Party champions a traditional boatmen community, and is led by State Minister Sanjay Nishad; and the Apna Dal (Sonelal), which receives full supports from the Kurmis, among the most numerically dominant OBC groups in UP after the Yadavs. Among the key OBC castes, Yadavs are the biggest with 19.40% share and Kurmis and Patels in second place with 7.4%. While Nishads, Mallahs and Kevats constitute 4.3%, Bhars and Rajbhars are 2.4%, Lodhs 4.8% and Jats 3.6% of the total of over 50 percentage OBC population, according to data from the Hukum Singh committee set up in 2001. INDIA, the alliance of opposition parties, has extended its support and forwarded the demand for a caste census. Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav, in a post on X (formerly Twitter) has said the BJP government should leave politics aside and conduct a nationwide caste census.
AKHILESH BATS FOR CONGRESS-SP TIE-UP FOR MADHYA PRADESH POLLS
Samajwadi Party (SP) president Akhilesh Yadav has urged for an alliance of the SP with the Congress for the coming Madhya Pradesh Assembly polls and Akhilesh said that both parties should fight together to defeat the ruling BJP in the state. While Madhya Pradesh Congress in-charge Randeep Singh Surjewala said both parties were in constant touch for a seat-sharing agreement in Madhya Pradesh. Yadav voters are considered decisive on 25-30 seats in Madhya Pradesh. The SP had some presence in some areas of Madhya Pradesh adjoining Uttar Pradesh and had won seven seats in the 2003 Madhya Pradesh Assembly polls, four seats in the 1998 polls, one seat in 2008 and 2018 Assembly polls each.
BJP UNCERTAIN OVER RAJASTHAN CM FACE AMID RAJE’S STRONG CAMPAIGN
BJP has been finding it difficult to deal with the many intra-party rival camps in Rajasthan which have emerged ahead of the polls. These camps are guided by party heavyweights such as Vasundhara Raje, Rajendra Singh Rathore, Satish Pooniya, CP Joshi, Gajendra Shekhawat and Arjun Ram Meghwal. BJP’s reluctance to declare Raje, a two-time former Chief Minister, as the face of the party’s campaign has specifically led to the problem within its state unit. On the other hand, Prime Minister Narendra Modi at a rally in Jaipur, on 25 September, minced no words and said, “I want to tell every BJP worker that our identity and pride is only the lotus.” Now Vasundhara Raje has reinitiated her outreach programme in Rajasthan following her long absence from a large part of the BJP’s 20-day statewide Parivartan Sankalp Yatra. She made her visit at temples in Jaisalmer and Barmer on Tuesday with her supporters, including former MLAs. Raje will be carrying on with her ‘Dev Darshan’ programme in the coming days until tickets are allocated in a soft display of strength in the state. The ticket distribution is expected not before the commencement of Navratra from October 15. It is also a window for Raje to continue to display her strength by holding programs in the state. (IPA Service)