The coalition of Opposition parties formed against the BJP led NDA alliance in Bihar has announced all its 40 seats, but did not nominate any Brahmin candidate on any seat. In such a situation, questions have been raised on not giving ticket to any Brahmin among the claims of preference for all castes and communities.
Political analysts attribute mixed reasons for the cold shoulder given to the pandits, specialising as priests, teachers (acharya) and once the preachers of sacred learning across generations. They say Congress and RJD led Oppostion alliance has either broken a relationship with the Brahmins or it is a part of their well-thought-out strategy of consolidating backward caste votes.
Their main rival BJP is trying to consolidate its support among lower other backward classes (OBCs) by setting up an OBC sub-categorization committee. The BJP had turned the tables in 2014, when it managed a 19 percentage point lead among OBCs in the national general election. In 2014, the BJP’s advantage over Congress was greater among lower OBCs than upper OBCs.
It is said that in Bihar, elections are more won on the basis of caste than on the basis of developmental issues. This is the reason why every party wants to keep all the communities happy under their multiplicity. Parties often field candidates of every caste as to win votes of all sections in the electoral battle. But this time, the Opposition coalition has fixed its strategy by not giving tickets to any Brahmin candidate.
RJD is in the poll battle with its old MY equation. The party led by jailed Lalu Prasad has fielded 19 candidates under its quota, out of which 12 candidates are Yadavs and Muslims.
In the same way, Jitan Ram Majhi led HAM and Rahul Gandhi led Congress have nominated upper castes in their declared candidates, but not any Brahmin.
Congress has said its only a coincidence. Congress leader Premchand Mishra says “Ideally, if we were to outnumber BJP, more tickets to Brahmins should have been allotted. But there are many parties in the coalition and everyone has their own leader. That is why it is not possible to do so.”
Poltical analysts point out that it is not that only the Brahmins did not get the candidacy in the strategy of the Opposition alliance. No Vaishya (Baniya) has been given any ticket in the coalition too.
BJP spokesperson Nikhil Anand says that people of all the communities in NDA have been given the chance but in the Congress and RJD only people of a particular community have been given prominence. In such a situation, how much will this strategy work for the coalition’s victory? Only after the elections, when the results come out, will be known.