In a first for an electoral coalition, Bihar’s ‘grand alliance’ on Wednesday released a ‘joint list’ of 242 candidates for the assembly polls with the bulk comprising OBCs and weaker sections as its CM candidate Nitish Kumar attacked BJP for being “anti-reservation” which cannot but obey RSS “which is its Supreme Court”.
Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, the JD(U)-RJD-BJP combine’s candidate for the hot seat, released the list of its nominees which, he said, had 55 per cent representation of backwards, 15 per cent SC/ST, 14 per cent Muslims and 16 per cent from the general category. A total of 25 women candidates have been given tickets, forming 10 per cent of the total, Kumar said, adding “all sections” have been represented.
In a clear indication that the anti-BJP secular alliance’s campaign will have a sharp thrust on backward class politics, which had helped RJD and later JD(U) reap handsome electoral harvests in post-Mandal Bihar, Nitish Kumar launched a frontal attack on BJP and RSS at the news conference called to announce the list.
Sharing the complete candidate list of महागठबंधन pic.twitter.com/Sp6CffGztK
— Nitish Kumar (@NitishKumar) September 23, 2015
“It is clear that he (Mohan Bhagwat) feels the current policy of reservation is not right and wants some other system,” Kumar said, reading aloud excerpts from the RSS chief’s interview to Sangh mouthpiece ‘Organiser’ and ‘Panchjanya’ in which he recently suggested a review of the reservation policy that has created a political storm ahead of the Bihar polls, causing discomfort in BJP.
Questioning BJP’s stand on reservation, he said whatever the ruling party may say it cannot go against the views of the RSS.
“RSS’ view is final. Whatever BJP might say, it has no meaning. Like when anything is decided by the Constitution bench of the Supreme Court, it is final and there is nothing after that, the same way in RSS, if RSS chief says something then BJP has no say.
“The BJP is a political outfit of RSS and swayamsevaks and pracharaks are part of this government. Whatever Bhagwat has said is final and there is no other thought,” Kumar, unsparing in his attack on the saffron rival, said, in apparent reference to BJP and the Centre distancing from Bhagwat’s remarks.
Kumar said, “Any amendment in Constitution can be done in Parliament. They want somebody other than the Constitution, an extra-constitutional authority, which should look into who should get reservation and how long.
“Not in the Constitution or in Parliament but in the hands of the elite committee. It is a very dangerous view. It cannot be accepted,” he said.
The list includes the two sons of RJD supremo Lalu Prasad– Tejaswi and Tej Pratap–who would make their electoral debut from Yadav-dominated Mahua and Raghopur seats of Vaishali district, both represented by JD(U) in the outgoing assembly.
Sitting MLA from Mahua Ravindra Rai joined HAM of former chief minister Jitan Ram Manjhi, while Satish Kumar, who had defeated Rabri Devi, Lalu’s wife and former CM, in Raghopur, shifted to BJP. Both have been rewarded with tickets by their new parties.
Flanked by state RJD president Ram Chandra Purvey and his Congress counterpart Ashok Chaudhary, Kumar said the grand alliance stood united unlike the NDA partners in Bihar who were squabbling over seats.
Soon after the presser had concluded,however, there were protests outside the JD(U) state headquarters by supporters of aspirants who could not get tickets.
Kumar said the name of the candidate for the Rajgir (SC) seat will be declared later.
JD(U) has relied on its core support base of Kurmi, Kumar’s caste men, and Kushwahas, in allotting tickets. RJD tilt is towards Yadavas and Muslims, which form the bedrock of Lalu’s vote bank, while Congress nominees are mainly from general category.
Under the seat-sharing formula, JD(U) and RJD will contest 101 seats each and Congress 41 in the 243-member assembly.
The five-phase polls start on October 12 and end on November 5, while counting will take place on November 8.