Bihar crisis sets back BJP’s plan for expansion | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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Bihar crisis sets back BJP’s plan for expansion

Aug 10, 2022 04:38 AM IST

The BJP would re-evaluate the state leadership in the wake of reports that there is unrest over senior leaders being overlooked, party functionaries said.

After losing its key ally and partner in the government in Bihar, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leadership is scrambling to come up with a road map for the party’s expansion ahead of the 2025 state elections, and compete against the Janata Dal (United) for support among two important vote blocs, women and the economically backward classes.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi with Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar, in Lucknow on March 25. (PTI)
Prime Minister Narendra Modi with Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar, in Lucknow on March 25. (PTI)

The BJP would also re-evaluate the state leadership in the wake of reports that there is unrest over senior leaders being overlooked, party functionaries said.

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The party’s focus will be on building ties with three crucial constituencies — Dalits, women and other backward classes — in addition to consolidating its position among the upper castes that are considered its traditional vote bank, several leaders that HT spoke to said.

In the 2020 state elections, the BJP benefitted from the JD(U)’s hold over the EBCs, the Mahadalits, and the Kurmis (OBCs) that form the bedrock of JD(U)’s vote bank. It also set about wooing women and Dalits, riding on the central government’s social welfare schemes.

While the EBCs make up for 30% of the electorate, together with the OBCs at 22%, they account for 52% of the voters. Mahadalits and Dalits are at 16 % and upper castes at 15%.

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“The BJP made headway in getting support from across castes and classes,” a party leader from the state said on condition of anonymity. “The development work carried out by the alliance government and the social welfare schemes have helped create a space for the BJP among castes that did not earlier consider it as an alternative.”

The representation to OBCs and Dalits in the elections was also scaled up compared to the previous polls, the leader said.

“The ticket distribution was done with precision. It had representation from the Rajputs, the Bhumihars, the Brahmins and Kayasthas. We also got on board Mahadalit leader (and former chief minister) Jitin Ram Manjhi and EBC leader Mukesh Sahni (three Vikassheel Insaan Party MLAs are now in the BJP),” the leader said.

The BJP does not anticipate difficulty in wooing women, who have been a strong vote bank for the JD(U), particularly after sale and consumption of alcohol was banned in the state. “There is a shift in preference owing to Modi ji’s popularity. Jitna bada challenge, utna bada opportunity (the bigger the challenge, the bigger the opportunity),” the leader said.

On whether the state leadership will see changes, a second leader said that it was too soon to talk about a rejig, but some “announcements” are likely.

“The tenure of the state president is getting over. The state might get a new in-charge and, at the district levels, there may be some new appointments,” the second leader said, declining to be named.

In response to a question on the BJP’s strategy as an opposition party, the second leader said, “We will keep a hawk’s eye on the administration and follow Modi ji’s zero tolerance for corruption model.”

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