RJD-ization of Bharatiya Janata Party in Bihar
It is understandable that a sizeable section of Yadavs are looking towards the Bharatiya Janata Party––and not Janata Dal (United)––because they fear that the era of Lalu Prasad is almost over. But what is a bit surprising is the way the Koeri voters are deserting the ruling Nitish Kumar camp to join the saffron brigade. Why are they abandoning the Luv-Kush alliance when they were among the major beneficiaries of the eight years of the present government?
But then the upper castes too had drifted away from the Janata Dal (United) though they too were benefited by the Nitish regime in the state.
The classic Mandalisation of the Bharatiya Janata Party has raised some interesting questions. The upper castes support for the JD(U)-BJP alliance was fathomable as it followed 15-years of Lalu-Rabri raj, in which Yadav-led backwards used to call the shot.
But when Nitish parted away from the BJP the upper caste moved away from him because they started feeling that he too was going the Lalu Yadav way as he started promoting the EBCs and Mahadalits. Because the BJP provided them a choice and it promoted Narendra Modi forcefully as the prime ministerial candidate the upper castes jumped into the saffron bandwagon.
But why is it that the Koeris (Kushwahas) moving away towards the BJP in such a big way. They should have been happy that their stranglehold over JD(U) would have increased with the departure of the upper castes from the party.
Some analysts feel that since Koeris lack the leader equivalent to the stature of Lalu Prasad, Nitish Kumar or Ram Vilas Paswan they were left with no option but to move towards the BJP on their own. Upendra Kushwaha, no doubt, is popular among the caste, yet he got so much indulged in party-hopping that his supporters started losing faith in him.
The other view is that it is the shift in the Koeris towards the BJP that forced leaders like Upendra Kushwaha and Nagmani to look towards the saffron party. Even Renu Kumari Kushwaha’s husband joined the BJP before Narendra Modi on March 10 in Purnea forcing her to quit the Nitish cabinet. So it is the pressure from below, which is compelling the leaders to take a turn towards the BJP.
But some Koeri leaders, who lost much of their hold on the caste in the recent years, such as Shakuni Chaudhary and his son Samrat, Bagi Prasad Verma etc deemed it fit to fill this vacuum and join the JD(U).
The Mandalization of the BJP in Bihar has now landed the upper castes in a unique situation. Among Dalits, Paswan is the most militant and among backwards Yadav and Koeri are numerically and otherwise much stronger castes.
The BJP will no longer remain a party of Bania and Brahmin as it used to be in the past.
With backward caste Narendra Modi at the top and backwards and Dalits gradually tightening their grip over the saffron party in Bihar it is to be seen how the upper castes react. After all they embraced Nitish but abandoned him because he started adopting the policy enunciated by Lalu Prasad Yadav.