New Delhi: With his “Reservation Yatra” which started from Thursday, Tejashwi Yadav is trying to revive and create the old Mandal social coalition vote bank in Bihar ahead of the general elections. According to political experts, the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) has been consciously rushing towards an aggressive campaign to revive the old Mandal social coalition (Mandal-II) in its favour.
Ever since the reservation bill to grant 10% quota to economically backward upper castes has been passed by the Parliament, RJaD leaders have constantly tried to raise the reservation debate on every possible platform.
The RJD, through its statements, has been sending messages to its core voters that 10% reservations to economically backward upper castes might eat up the exiting caste based affirmative action. Tejashwi himself has demanded raising the quota cap for OBCs, SCs and STs to 90%. In his tweet, Tejashwi has said: “The quota for SC/STs and OBCs must be increased to 90%. I don’t understand the basis for 10% reservation on economic backwardness when no such demand was made from any section nor any recommendation was made by any commission.”
Commenting on the issue, RJD leader Mahendra Yadav told The Sunday Guardian: “We oppose the way the 10% quota is being implemented and demand a greater share for the OBCs as it can’t be the case that reservation cap is applicable for only OBCs. We have launched a nationwide Reservation Yatra to create awareness in voters about how the BJP, through the quota, is trying to end caste based affirmative actions in the country.”
Explaining the current political scenario in Bihar, Manindra Nath Thakur, a political theorist and professor at Jawaharlal Nehru University said: “Although the BJP got the quota bill passed as a tactical move based on feedback following defeats in the MP, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh Assembly elections to re-assure its core upper caste support base, the quota bill has provided the necessary launch pad to the Mandal parties, specially the RJD in Bihar.”
“The Congress and RJD are seemingly working on a two-pronged strategy in Bihar to galvanise voters from both upper castes and OBCs and Muslims. While the RJD tied up with smaller OBC parties to try to woo the backward castes and Muslims in the state, the Congress would try to reach out to the upper castes in the state. Ahead of Lok Sabha polls, the RJD’s focus will be on knitting a larger backward-minority social coalition in Bihar,” Thakur added.