Party’s primary emphasis will be on giving more representation to non-Yadav OBCs in the ticket distribution process.
New Delhi: Bihar’s principal opposition party the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) had started short-listing the seats where it will be putting candidates in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections and is in no mood to give high representation to any smaller ally or future partner unlike the previous parliamentary polls. The party leadership had also decided to expand its social base by giving more representation to the non-Yadav Other Backward Classes (OBCs) in the ticket distribution process in the elections. The party’s emphasis will be on Kushwaha and Nishad social groups in the ticket distribution apart from its core vote bank.
Talking to The Sunday Guardian, Nawal Kishore, party’s spokesperson, said, “We are the party of A to Z social groups. In the 2020 Assembly polls, this was our slogan and we got success. We will follow the same model this time. We have to learn lessons from the 2019 parliamentary polls where ticket distribution was in chaos and infighting was there between parties for the number of seats. Our leadership will certainly not want to repeat that mistake. Our focus will be on giving more representation to those sections which were under-represented in the past like Atyant Pichda (extremely backward) social groups, Kushwaha etc. Undoubtedly, we will also give due representation to our core social groups.” The Sunday Guardian had also learned that RJD leadership is clear that it will fight on at least 26-28 parliamentary segments in Bihar this time and may not want to accommodate Congress in their scheme of things. The principal opposition party is also not ready to accommodate smaller players like Mukesh Sahani who as per them backstabbed the party in the 2020 Assembly polls. The party is aiming to groom leaders from these communities among its cadres and give them tickets.
Another senior party leader said, “Our previous experience has been bad with these smaller groups, hence there’s no point accommodating them, we may accommodate Chirag Paswan on our terms. As far as number of seats is concerned, we will fight 28 parliamentary seats in Bihar.” The early brainstorming in the RJD for 2024 polls is also because, Lalu Prasad Yadav led party had failed to make any impact in the last three parliamentary polls.
In 2009 Lok Sabha elections, it won four out of 28 seats it fought while in the 2014 elections, it again emerged victorious on only four seats out of 28 it contested. In the 2019 parliamentary election, it won zero seats, making it irrelevant in national politics. The party was once a main pillar of the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government which ruled this country between 2004-09, as it won 24 seats in 2004 general elections and was the biggest constituent in UPA after Indian National Congress (INC).
“We learned from our mistake committed in the 2019 polls and ratified it in the 2020 Assembly polls by fighting on 60% Assembly seats. The alliance with smaller parties who cannot transfer votes was a mistake,” said Mukesh Singh Yadav, a party leader based in New Delhi. In 2019 parliamentary polls, the RJD-led UPA had seven partners in the alliance in Bihar, that include Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) which contested 19 seats only, Indian National Congress (INC), Upendra Kushwaha-led Rashtriya Lok Samata Party (RLSP) which fought on five seats, former Chief Minister Jitan Ram Manjhi’s Hindustani Awam Morcha (HAM) which contested three parliamentary segment, Sharad Yadav’s Loktantrik Janata Dal (LJD), Mukesh Sahani led Vikassheel Insaan Party and Left parties. Bihar had in total 40 parliamentary segments out of which the alliance emerged victorious on one seat and the rest 39 went with the National Democratic Alliance (NDA).