NDA split: Caste equations may benefit RJD,Congress

As the NDA splits,new caste,community equations are likely to emerge in Bihar.

Written by Santosh Singh | Patna | Published: June 17, 2013 1:58 am

As the NDA splits,new caste,community equations are likely to emerge in Bihar.

The RJD,which managed to win only 22 of the 243 Assembly seats and four of the 40 Lok Sabha seats in the last polls,looks to gain in the 2014 general elections. The Congress may prefer to wait for Bihar to go the Uttar Pradesh way and maintain ‘equi-proximity’ with the RJD and the JD(U).

Though Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi has asked the JD(U) to join the secular front,Nitish Kumar may tread cautiously as taking a stand against Narendra Modi may not be enough to attract minority voters. The JD(U) has criticised the UPA government for step-motherly treatment towards Bihar,and hence,is likely to maintain distance from the Congress in the pre-poll scenario.

Moreover,not everyone in the party seems happy with the split. Around 200 JD(U) workers who had gathered at party office here Sunday seemed unhappy over snapping ties with the BJP. A party worker told a JD(U) leader: “Why have we woken up now? Go to the people,they will tell you that we have committed a hara-kiri.”

The BJP can hope to get a major chunk of the upper caste votes,especially those of the Bhumihars. At the same time,it can even divide JD(U)’s EBC-OBC votes.

RJD chief Lalu Prasad is reportedly worried that Nitish will now woo his Muslim constituency. After all,Nitish severed tied with the BJP invoking Modi’s name. On Sunday,Lalu said,“What message is Nitish trying to give by snapping ties with the BJP now? Why didn’t he do so after the 2002 Godhra riots? Nitish is in fool’s paradise if he thinks this will win over Muslims.” Lalu has recently tasted success with his party’s victory in the Maharajganj bypoll. “Lalu will try to woo the upper caste. Even if a percentage of Muslim voters turn away from him,Lalu will try to split Nitish’s EBC-OBC votes,” said a political analyst.

“In such a scenario,it will suit the Congress if Bihar goes the UP way during the 2014 polls. Who knows Lalu and Nitish may find themselves on the same side if the NDA under Modi does not get the numbers and the UPA succeeds in cobbling together several parties in the name of secularism,” said a political columnist.

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