Apart from focusing on EBC, SC and OBC Koeri-Kurmi voters, the JD(U) also appears to be reaching out to the Muslims and Yadavs in its list of 115 candidates for the upcoming Assembly election in Bihar that was released Wednesday.
The party has given tickets to 18 women candidates in an apparent bid to woo the caste-neutral constituency and has fielded 17 upper caste candidates.
From Parsa in Saran district, the JD (U) has fielded former RJD leader Chandrika Rai, who recently joined the party. A former minister, Rai is the father of Aishwarya, the estranged wife of former health minister and RJD chief Lalu Prasad’s son Tej Pratap Yadav. There was speculation that the party might field Aishwarya from the seat.
Only two sitting MLAs — Ramesh Sinha Kushwaha from Ziradei and Sunil Kumar Choudhary from Benipur — could not be accommodated in the JD(U)’s list of 115 candidates. Former social welfare minister Manju Verma, who had to step down after her husband was named in an Arms Act case, has been fielded again from Cheria Bariarpur.
The JD(U) has reinstated its faith in its core constituency of “Luv-Kush” — meaning the Kurmi-Koeri combine — by fielding 17 Kushwaha and seven Kurmi candidates. But it seems to be working more on EBC and SC voters as it has fielded 21 EBC and 16 SC candidates.
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In the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, the JD(U) contested alone and won only two seats. But in the 16 per cent of vote share it got in the state, a major component comprised EBC and SC voters.
The party has fielded 17 upper caste candidates, including nine from Bhumihar, six from Rajput and two from the Brahmin community. With the LJP trying to wean away upper caste votes, it remains to be seen if it is able to dent the JD (U)’s prospect on this front.
Meanwhile, former DGP Gupteshwar Pandey, who took VRS and joined the JD (U), could not be accommodated as both seats of his choice — Buxar and Shahpur — went to the BJP quota under the seat-sharing arrangement.
11 seats for VIP
The Vikasshil Insaan Party (VIP) led by EBC leader Mukesh Sahni, who recently walked out of the Grand Alliance and joined hands with the NDA, will be contesting 11 seats. These are Brahmpur, Bochaha, Gaura Boram, Simri Bakhtiyarpur, Sugauli, Madhubani, Keoti, Sahebganj, Balrampur, Alinagar and Baniapur. As these Assembly segments have a sizeable number of voters from the EBC Sahni community. —ENS
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