The Bharatiya Janata Party’s first list of 43 candidates released on Tuesday night for the five phased Bihar election has seen upper castes getting at least 19 seats, a number that is disproportionate to their numerical strength in Bihar.
The upper caste is believed to be about 15-odd percent of Bihar’s population, but they have got about 45% share in the first list. The first list of the BJP also includes at least 5 Yadav and 4 Vaishya candidates. While the Vaishyas are traditional supporters of the BJP, the party is trying to create new inroads by splitting Yadavs who have traditionally voted for Lalu Prasad of RJD.
The BJP is yet to come out with its complete list – it will field 160 candidates – and party sources say the final composition could be different.
Health minister JP Nadda had on Tuesday night claimed that about 60% of the BJP candidates who found place in the first list belonged to the OBC, SC or ST categories. Only 3 women got ticket in the first list, but Nadda claimed women and youth constituted about 50% of BJP candidates.
“Among upper castes, Bhumihars have got a lion’s share with 9 seats followed by Rajputs (6), Brahmin and Kayastha (2 each). The upper castes are overwhelmingly supporting us in this election and they have got their due. But this does not mean the others have been ignored. They have been adequately compensated and will be accomodated in the coming lists,” a BJP leader said.
A quick analysis of the first list of candidates announced by the BJP reveals that Kurmi and Kushwaha – identified as OBC – have got 4 seats. An equal number of seats have gone to Vaishyas, the trading community, which is also classified as backward.
The BJP’s list includes six SC candidates, but all of them have been fielded from reserved seats. Three seats have gone to extremely backward communities – which holds key to the formation of next government – while one of the candidates is ST and has been fielded from the reserved constituency.