The BJP finalised its first list of candidates, which was released on Tuesday, for the upcoming Bihar assembly polls on the basis of three highly classified surveys conducted by the central leadership of the saffron party and the RSS, a source said.
A senior Bharatiya Janata Party leader, who was privy to the six-hour marathon selection exercise carried out by the party's central election committee under Amit Shah in New Delhi, said reports from the survey were minutely consulted for the selection of both old and new faces.
"On several occasions the recommendations in the reports were given priority over the views of the members of party's state election committee," said the leader on condition of anonymity.
The source added while two surveys were conducted by agencies outsourced by the central leadership, the third study was carried out by the RSS, the party's parent organisation.
"The recommendations were kept secret and we got to know about them only at the central election committee meeting on Tuesday," he said.
"It was also probably for the first time, that the Prime Minister participated in the election committee meeting for the selection of candidates for the assembly polls."
The reports were instrumental even for denying tickets to the five sitting members, he said.
A look at the nominees suggests the party has focused on the backward caste and extremely backward caste votes by allotting nearly 45% tickets to people belonging to these categories. Overall, 60% of the seats have gone to the BC, EBC, SC and ST candidates.
At the same time, the party has not ignored the upper caste members for they are considered to be the base of the saffron party in Bihar. It has given tickets to 19 candidates belonging to upper castes, which include nine seats to Bhumihars, six to Rajputs, two to Brahmins and two to Kayasthas.
The list also suggests that the selection committee has maintained a regional balance in the distribution of seats. For instance, in Aurangabad district, which has remained by and large a Rajput bastion, it has fielded former state BJP president Gopal Narayan Singh from Nabinagar.
According to sources, Singh was not inclined to contest the polls but the central leadership, particularly home minister Rajnath Singh, directed him to do so.
Similarly, the selection committee denied ticket to the sitting Lalan Kumar, BJP member from Tegra in Begusarai district, and replaced him with Ram Lakhan Singh, a strongman of the district, based on the recommendation of the survey reports.
It also replaced Aman Kumar of Pirpainti with Lallan Paswan, who was earlier with the RJD. It is believed that senior party leader Shahnawaz Hussain and Buxar MP Ashwini Kumar Choubey had recommended Aman's removal.
In Gurua assembly constituency, the party denied ticket to sitting MLA Surendra Sinha and replaced him with Rajiv Dangi, who is the son of former Konch MLA Sachchidanand.
The party has fielded a hardcore organisational man Rajendra Singh from Dinara constituency. Though he hails from Bihar, he was organisational secretary in-charge of Jharkhand till recently.
In the list of 43 constituencies, the BJP has 30 sitting MLAs, JD(U) 11 and RJD has two legislators. Of them six are reserved seats.
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