Bihar Politics: Nitish eyes 6% Paswan voters, JDU benefits more due to break of LJP in Bihar- Ever since Narendra Modi took over the reins of BJP in 2013, Nitish Kumar has had a love-hate relationship. Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar’s association with the Modi-led BJP is only due to political compulsions. Since the 2020 assembly election results, Nitish Kumar is making constant efforts to regain his old strength. Because Nitish Kumar has become a junior of BJP in terms of numbers in the alliance.
Due to the lamp, Nitish’s relationship with the Paswan family deteriorated.
There were reports that the coup in the Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) had the blessings of Nitish Kumar and his party. Nitish Kumar and LJP founder Ram Vilas Paswan had a relationship of political respect among themselves. Both kept understanding the need of each other’s vote-base. However, Ram Vilas Paswan’s son Chirag had openly criticized Nitish Kumar in the 2020 elections and both the parties were facing each other in the elections.
JDU leaders say that their party lost 46 seats in the 2020 elections because of Chirag Paswan. The party also believes that Chirag has the support of a certain section of BJP leaders. Due to which JDU slipped from 71 (year 2015) to 43 (year 2020) seats. At the same time, BJP increased from 53 (Year 2015) seats to 74 (Year 2020) seats.
Nitish is eyeing LJP’s base-vote 6% Paswan voters
Bihar has 6 per cent Paswan (Dusadh) voters and has been loyal to Ram Vilas since the formation of LJP. Nitish Kumar had initially refused to grant Mahadalit status to Paswan. Because they believed that these people are a prosperous caste among Dalits. However, in April 2018, Nitish Kumar gave the status of Mahadalit to Paswan at the behest of Ram Vilas Paswan. Now on the death of Ram Vilas Paswan, Nitish Kumar Paswan would like to make voters on his side. Pashupati Paras, who is currently looking ahead in the fight to take over the LJP, is also inclined towards Nitish Kumar.
The non-Yadav OBCs and Mahadalits formed by Nitish Kumar form a major part of the JDU’s vote-base. The BJP is also eyeing the OBC votes, so there is bound to be a tussle between the two allies. Since Bihar has only 16% upper caste votes, the BJP has turned to OBC (including Yadavs in the name of Hindutva) voters to strengthen its electoral prospects.
Nitish Kumar’s party JDU is in strong position in Bihar at present.
The share of Mahadalits and Backward Castes in the total electorate is around 30%, while Mahadalits (except Paswan) are 10%. Apart from this, Nitish Kumar has tried to win the Koeri-Kushwaha votes in his favor by including RLSP chief Upendra Kushwaha in his party. He also made Umesh Kushwaha the president of JDU’s Bihar unit. The name of Purnia MP and JDU leader Santosh Kushwaha is being discussed for the post of Union Minister. The RLSP was out of the NDA before the assembly elections. In such a situation, both BJP and JDU could not get the support of Kushwaha voters in 2020.
Overall, Nitish Kumar has consolidated his position after suffering a setback in the 2020 assembly elections, which will also be a matter of concern for the BJP. The emergence of Tejashwi Yadav as a strong leader during the assembly elections contributed to 11% of Yadav votes. While the RJD’s alliance with the CPI (ML) and other Left parties proved to be helpful in garnering Dalit votes in its favour.