Patna: Ram Vilas Paswan and Jitan Ram Manjhi, two prominent Dalit leaders on whom BJP was banking to bring for NDA nearly 16 per cent votes of schedule castes, failed to deliver in the Bihar elections, as reflected in the results.
The ‘grand alliance' of RJD, JD(U) and Congress got more support from the electorate of Scheduled Caste communities than the NDA, notwithstanding Paswan and Manjhi always being seen by the side of Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his 26 election rallies in the state.
An analysis of results show that in fact nine Paswans won from the JD(U)-RJD-Congress camp in comparison to two of NDA. Even these two in NDA was won one each by BJP and Rashtriya Lok Samata Party (RLSP), while Ram Vilas Paswan's LJP failed to bag any seat.
Similarly, among mahadalits for which BJP relied on Jitan Ram Manjhi, the ‘grand alliance' has 15 winners while Manjhi, who is head of Hindustani Awam Morcha (HAM), is the sole winner from his party. BJP has three winners from the mahadalit community.
Out of 10 mahadalits fielded by RJD, nine triumphed. JD(U) had given ticket to six mahadalits and five of them came out victorious, and in Congress, out of three nominees, one won.
In the NDA camp, BJP which had fielded 11 mahadalit candidates, three won, HAM has sole elected member in Jitan Ram Manjhi out of four, while LJP and RLSP that had given tickets to three and one mahadalits, respectively, drew a naught.
Out of a total of 243 seats in Bihar Legislative Assembly, 38 are earmarked for SC and two for ST. Union minister Ram Vilas Paswan's party has two winners out of 41 and both hail from Extremely Backward Castes.
In RLSP of Union minister Upendra Kushwaha, there is a winner from his own Kushwaha caste and another a Paswan. When asked about this, Jitan Ram Manjhi told PTI today that his Manjhi castemen voted aggressively for the NDA.
“Paswan, Ravidas and Manjhi are the three major castes with 5, 5 and 4 per cent of votes out of a total of 16 per cent votes of dalits and mahadalits...Manjhi voters turned out aggressively in favour of NDA,” he claimed. Manjhi's claim is hard to belief as he himself lost at his sitting Makhdumpur reserved seat while his son Santosh Kumar Suman tasted defeat at Kutumba in Aurangabad.
A look at the results highlight that Yadavs and Muslims were the major winners from Lalu Prasad's RJD. Out of 49 candidates fielded by Lalu Prasad from his own Yadav caste, 42 emerged victorious.
Similarly out of 16 Muslim candidates of RJD, 12 won indicating that ‘MY' (Muslim and Yadav communities) still support Lalu Prasad.
In Chief Minister Nitish Kumar's JD(U), the majority winners hailed from his fellow Kurmi caste (13), followed by Kushwaha and Yadav 11 each.
Victory of majority of Kurmi and Kushwaha caste candidates proved that Kumar continue to hold sway over “Luv-Kush” (Kurmi and Kushwaha), the strength of his party earlier too.
From Congress, upper castes candidates formed the majority winning 12 out of its tally of 27. While four Brahmin candidates won on Congress symbol, three each Rajput and Bhumiyar and two Kayasthas. BJP which had fielded maximum candidates of the four forward castes which together have around 15 per cent votes, have 22 winners.
But, Congress tally of 12 in comparison to BJP's 22 indicates forward castes' return to the grand old party which shifted from it after it joined hands with RJD of Lalu Prasad in 1990.
Extremely Backward Castes (EBCs), which is roughly 30 per cent of the electorate, and for which BJP propagated Prime Minister Modi's EBC background and also inducted a controversial former minister Bhim Singh, brought mixed bag of luck for both the ‘grand alliance' and NDA. JD(U), RJD and Congress have 12 winners from EBCs as compared to seven of NDA, all from BJP.