Though the BJP’s allies are unhappy with the unilateral announcement of the first list of 43 candidates, BJP made it clear that Yadav and Dalits are its prime focus. This poses serious questions for Lalu Prasad and Nitish Kumar. Lalu Prasad had to invoke fellow Yadavs at the 30 August Swabhiman rally and is aware of the BJP plans to fragment the Yadav vote.
The BJP has fielded five Yadavs in the first list as per composition of the Assembly segment. It throws out a challenge to opponents — will they also field Yadavs or settle for EBC candidates on some seats for a different kind of formulation? The BJP has asked the Yadav question to Lalu who is still busy working out its lists with his partners.
The BJP is attempting a social combination of upper castes, Dalits and fragmented Yadavs and EBCs. The party does not fight shy of latantly playing the card by brandishing the Yadav and Rai surnames of its leaders during its rallies. The BJP’s confidence comes from the Yadav leaders in its rank – Ram Kripal Yadav, Bhupendra Yadav and Nand Kishore Yadav. It is true that no one can match Lalu but the BJP is catering to Yadav youths.
The BJP has also focussed on the Scheduled Caste, Ravidas which forms about five per cent of the state population. This is another well-thought out BJP strategy to create a vertical and horizontal split in Nitish Kumar’s carefully crafted Mahadalit constituency.
As for the Grand Alliance, it will have some disgruntled ticket hopefuls landing up at JD (U) and RJD camps. Lalu and Nitish have to come up with a befitting reply to the BJP’s first list. The BJP should be ready for some posers from the Grand Alliance and beware of the growing murmurs within its camp about its elder-brotherly attitude.