New Delhi: The Congress party is going to reconstitute the Bihar Pradesh Congress Committee (BPCC) on caste lines and the move has been welcomed by party members as they think that adequate representation to several castes will translate into better electoral results.
Earlier, BPCC in-charge Bakhta Charan Das had proposed Rajesh Ram, a Dalit and two-time MLA from Aurangabad Kutumba constituency, for the president’s post so as to give representation to the weaker sections of the society. But the formula was rejected by the high command.
A senior party leader said, “To socially design its Bihar unit better, there is now a possibility of a person from either Koiri or Kushwaha caste to lead the BPCC. Congress will also try to go back to its traditional vote banks of forward caste, Dalit and Muslim, along with a relative chunk of individual-based OBC communities.”
If Congress goes in alliance with the RJD, there will be no point in appointing a Yadav as the party chief of Bihar unit. Lalu Yadav and his family are the dominant leaders in the Yadav community and their votes will anyway come through them eventually. It may not also appoint a leader from Kurmi caste, which CM Nitish Kumar leads predominantly and will hardly tilt his vote bank in favour of Congress.
Voicing his concern on Twitter, former BPCC president Anil Sharma recently wrote that one each from backward caste, SC and women should be appointed as working presidents. According to a party functionary, “The tweet has been taken seriously by the high command, so we may see representation from these sections and EBC as well.”
Bihar Youth Congress vice-president Manjeet Anand Sahu said, “There are no lower caste representations in the party, there is only upper caste dominance in BPCC. That is the reason the popularity of Congress is declining in Bihar. If Congress has to grow, it should include EBC, OBC, Dalit and minority community leaders.”
Currently, BPCC has only one Dalit face, working president Ashok Ram. Otherwise, president Madan Mohan Jha is a Brahmin. The campaign committee chairman Akhilesh Singh Yadav, a Rajya Sabha MP, belongs to upper caste Bhumihar community. CLP leader Ajeet Sharma is a Bhumihar too. Three other working presidents are Shyam Singh Dhiraj (Bhumihar), recently elected MLC Sameer Kumar Singh (Rajput) and Kakoub Kadari (Muslim).
In the recent Assembly elections in Bihar also, Congress had fielded dismal number of lower caste candidates and only one Dalit. Out of 70 seats, 15 were of reserved category. On the rest, the party had fielded 12 Muslims, 12 Bhumihars, 11 Rajputs, five Brahmins, five Yadavs, four Kayais, two Kurmis and one each from Kushwaha, EBC, Dalit sub-caste and Kalwar communities.
Dr Pranav Kumar, a political analyst in Bihar, said, “This is a well-known fact that social engineering matters everywhere in the country, so is in Bihar. I think the social equations are very important and this development can be seen in that context, keeping in mind the strange relations with the RJD. So they would be looking for a kind of leadership which can help them in consolidating particular section of voters that can be useful as per the social engineering.”