In Bihar’s political parlance, Luv stands for the OBC Kurmi community and Kush for the OBC Kushwaha (Koeri) group. The two caste groups are together referred to as ‘Luv-Kush’, and constitute about 10 per cent of Bihar’s population.
Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has nurtured this constituency very meticulously over the years, without talking much about it. He reportedly came up with the plan to woo the community way back in 1995 to take on the RJD supremo Lalu Prasad’s M-Y (Muslim-Yadav) vote base. However, while Lalu Prasad never shied away from the M-Y tag, Nitish Kumar has always been very conscious about mentioning his influence over the group since he fears being labelled as casteist.
While cracks were anticipated in the Luv-Kush vote bank when Rashtriya Lok Samata Party chief Upendra Kushwaha (‘Kush’) broke away from Nitish Kumar, it has not had much impact in Assembly polls. In the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, however, the JD(U)’s poor performance – they won just two of the 40 parliamentary seats in Bihar – was attributed to the Nitish-Kushwaha split. But the Luv-Kush segment is still believed to be largely on Nitish Kumar’s side. Many political scientists also say that the perceived support of the Luv-Kush communities has helped Nitish Kumar have an upper hand in his alliance with the BJP in the state.
The Luv-Kush votes are spread over the state, with large sections in Nalanda, Arwal, Munger, Bhojpur, Samastipur, Khagaria, East Champaran and West Champaran. The community is largely made up of landowning farmers and vegetable growers.
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines