Results are warning signs for NDA as social groups which form its core voted in large numbers for RJD, Congress candidates.
New Delhi: The recently concluded Bihar Legislative Council polls had indicated a new social realignment in the state as those social groups which used to be the fulcrum of ruling National Democratic Alliance (NDA) had shifted towards the opposition Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) in many seats and there had been calls by a section of those groups to use the RJD platform to pressurize the NDA for a better representation. In the legislative council polls which were held on 24 seats, the Nitish Kumar-led NDA won 13 seats, while the opposition RJD won six seats. Two seats went to Indian National Congress (INC) and three seats were won by independents.
For the NDA, the worrying part in these elections had been the shift of Bhumihar and Brahmin community in 10 out of 24 seats. Three candidates from the Bhumihar community won on the RJD symbol while observers argue that Brahmins voted for RJD and Congress nominees in high numbers in Mithilanchal region. Talking to The Sunday Guardian, Asutosh, a social activist who runs a non-political social organization, said, “There is a churning on the ground. People of the upper castes want more space in the political process; Nitish Kumar had tactically downgraded our representation in his 16-year rule. We have no issues with the uplift of other communities, but that should not happen at our expense. If RJD and other opposition parties give us due share and importance, we are more than happy to help them.”
The Janata Dal United (JDU) had played down the issue of resentment of certain sections against it. Talking to The Sunday Guardian, Neeraj Kumar, JDU’s chief spokesperson and former minister in Bihar government, said, “We need not read much from the results, RJD was claiming that it will win all the seats it had contested, but you saw the outcome. People of Bihar will not accept any caste polarization. JDU and the NDA had the support of all the communities and no social group wanted the state to again go in the 1990 era where rule of law was replaced with the rule of anti-social elements. The rhetoric of A to Z by the RJD is a farce as after the MLC results when they have to appoint the leader of opposition, they choose a person from the family and no outsider.” In these local bodies MLC elections, BJP won seats of Purnia-Araria-Kishanganj, Gopalganj, Aurangabad, Katihar, Sasaram, Samastipur and Darbhanga seats, while its partner JDU won from Muzaffarpur, Sitamarhi, Bhojpur, Nalanda, Bhagalpur. Many in the power corridors of Patna and New Delhi believe that these results will definitely impact the future politics of the state. “The results had sent a signal to the NDA leadership in Bihar to analyse their relationship with the upper castes. In the local bodies’ MLC polls, panchayati Raj representatives elect MLC, these polls give us an idea about what ground level workers are thinking. Undoubtedly, money is an integral part of these polls, but we must admit that upper castes are in dilemma and unhappy primarily with Nitish Kumar which had been evident since the 2020 Assembly polls when the JDU’s tally went down to 43 seats. I think if RJD is able to negate its anti-upper caste image, then Bihar’s politics will see major change in coming times,” said Binod Kumar Choudhary, a social scientist based in Patna.