The Lalu Prasad-led RJD is planning to take a leaf out of Mayawati's strategy in Uttar Pradesh to woo upper castes in the run-up to the Bihar assembly polls later this year.
With his MY (Muslim-Yadav) combination "intact", Prasad is going the extra mile to garner the votes of Rajputs, Bhumihars, Brahmins and Kayasthas who form a sizable chunk of the state population.
"Our vote base of Muslim and Yadav is intact and hence votes of any third sizeable community put together can do wonders for us. This will be one of the criteria for candidate selection," a senior party leader said on condition of anonymity.
"Mayawati's experiment of roping in Brahmins in the constituencies where the community had sizable population paid rich dividends in the last assembly elections in UP that helped her form a government with a clear majority," the leader said.
RJD, which ruled Bihar for 15 consecutive years from 1990, was defeated in the 2005 Assembly elections by BJP and JDU. In the 243-member assembly, RJD is the second largest party with 56 seats. The ruling parties JDU and BJP have 81 and 54 seats respectively. Ramvilas Paswan-led LJP has 12 seats and Congress 10.
Similarly in the last Lok Sabha elections, though RJD and LJP came together, the results were dismal with Paswan's party not winning a single seat and RJD getting just four out of the total 40 seats.
Out of the four, except Lalu Prasad, the other three winning RJD candidates were from Rajput community, which is otherwise not known for voting overwhelmingly for the party.
Top sources in RJD said the party is now realising that sticking to its earlier base won't suffice and that it needs to break new grounds.
Recently a prominent Rajput leader from JD-U Prabhunath Singh, a friend-turned-foe of Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, joined RJD with much fanfare.
Sources in the RJD said the party will have no qualms in welcoming leaders from other castes or groups feeling disgruntled with JD-U.
Top leaders of the party deliberated on all issues in detail in its Core Committee meeting on a couple of days back. Prasad had also called a meeting of all party MPs, ex MPs and district presidents to "assess ground realities", a party source said.