For Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar and RJD Chief Lalu Prasad Yadav, the prime supporters of the caste survey in the state, the result has been a strengthening of 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 polls. Now, the ruling JD(U)-RJD combine is working to take its message to the people at the grassroots level across the state. In public functions being organised across Bihar, both the parties are talking about the benefits of the caste survey and how it was stalled by the central government with ulterior motives. Meanwhile, the BJP is following the line taken by PM Modi that such demand are being made to divide Hindus. JD(U) has even added the caste survey in its statewide programme of Kapoori Charcha (discussions on thoughts of Kapoori Thakur).The RJD through its Ambedkar Paricharcha (discussions on thoughts of Ambedkar) has started to talk of alleged discriminations against the lower castes by the BJP dispensation. The RJD’s Ambedkar Paricharcha series has been running since April. JD(U) has formed seven separate teams and tasked them to visit each of Bihar’s 243 assembly constituencies and complete the discussion series by January 24, 2024 which will also mark the birth centenary of Kapoori Thakur.
RAJASTHAN CM GEHLOT WANTS TO RENOMINATE ALL SITTING MINISTERS
The fate of many ministers of the Ashok Gehlot government continue to hang in balance as the Congress holds meetings to draw up lists of candidates for the assembly elections, scheduled for November 25. CM Gehlot is adamant on renominating all his ministers. He also wishes to field all six former BSP MLAs who joined the Congress in 2019 and those Independents who supported his government during previous crises. According to sources, the Congress high command wants to stick to the decision of denying tickets to those who have less chance of retaining the seats this time. Meanwhile, the Central Election Committee (CEC) met on Wednesday to discuss candidates for around 120 seats, but sources said that the panel cleared only about half of those seats. During the meeting, Congress President Mallikarjun Kharge expressed confidence in the Congress party’s prospects, stating: “Rajasthan changed due to the good governance of Congress. We are confident that the public will bless us again.” Meanwhile, Rahul Gandhi emphasised the party’s vision and initiatives for various states, expressing confidence in Congress’s victory in Telangana, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan, and Mizoram.
AKHILESH FOCUSED ON DALIT-BACKWARD PLANK, ADDING TO SUPPORT BASE
As Congress, JD(U), RJD raised the voice for OBC, EBC and Dalit politics, SP’s National President Akhilesh Yadav is now focusing his attention on the PDA (Pichre, Dalit, Alpsankhyak) plank. SP is also looking to woo non-Yadav Other Backward Classes (OBCs), who constitute about 35 per cent of the population. Directly connecting with the youth of every village and chalking out a strategy for the future, SP has started preparation for Mission 80 in Uttar Pradesh for the 2024 Lok Sabha elections. The party is focusing more on Purvanchal seats such as Ghazipur, Ghosi, Mau, Azamgarh, Mirzapuri, Gonda and Kushinagar to prepare the ground to win the seats.
CONGRESS PLAYING WITH SOFT HINDUTVA IN MADHYA PRADESH
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi has been demanding nationwide caste census to better evaluate the situation of India’s Dalits, OBCs, poor and recommending OBC quota in women reservation. However, the Madhya Pradesh Congress is playing soft Hindutva, with its CM face Kamal Nath projecting himself as a Hanuman devotee. Presiding over Hanuman-themed events, erecting a massive Hanuman statue on his turf Chhindwara, inviting the right-wing Bajrang Sena to merge into the Congress, and playing host to controversial Bageshwar Dham chief priest Dhirendra Shastri — are some of the recent actions blessed by former CM Kamal Nath. The Congress has fielded popular actor Vikram Mastal against Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan in Budhni constituency in the upcoming assembly elections. Mastal is well known for his role as Hanuman in Anand Sagar’s 2008 television show Ramayana. But the biggest challenge faced by the Congress is to walk a tight rope on the question of Hindu identity politics, and avoid communal polarisation that the BJP deliberately resorts to when on the back foot.
SNUBBED MLAs OF RAJASTHAN BJP DEFIANT; NADDA, SHAH DOUSE PASSIONS
With the first list of BJP candidates to contest the Rajasthan assembly election now released, the infighting in the BJP state unit is coming to light. As reports show that former Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje and her leaders have been sidelined on 41 seats in Rajasthan, it seems that the politics of Mewar is about to take a new turn. Union Home Minister Amit Shah and BJP president J P Nadda have been holding a marathon meeting with party leaders from Rajasthan, including former chief minister Vasundhara Raje, as part of an exercise to finalise the names of its remaining candidates for the November 25 state Assembly polls. However, amid a show of defiance by a section of its workers and those ignored for poll tickets in Rajasthan, the party leadership has taken measures to pacify the agitated and frayed nerves. Now, Nadda is meeting a large number of BJP functionaries to placate them. (IPA Service)