In bid to expand base after poll debacle, JD (U) forms upper caste cell
- The focus on the upper caste, according to party leaders, is mainly to draw them closer to the party by letting them know the inclusive development that chief minister Nitish Kumar has been able to usher in over the last one and half decades.
Continuing with its massive organizational strengthening exercise since its debacle in the 2020 assembly elections in Bihar, JD-U is now looking at bagging the upper caste votes, traditionally known to back its ally, the BJP.
For the first time, JD-U has formed an upper caste cell; on the lines of different other such bodies like minority cell, Dalit cell, Mahadalit cell, OBC cell etc. Dr Nitish Kumar ‘Vimal’ has been made the president of the cell.
The focus on the upper caste, according to party leaders, is mainly to draw them closer to the party by letting them know the inclusive development that chief minister Nitish Kumar has been able to usher in over the last one and half decades and get feedback about their aspirations.
The Bihar Legislative Assembly had in February 2019 passed a bill for 10% reservation to upper caste poor in jobs and educational institutions in the light of the 103rd Constitutional amendment. The chief minister had then termed it a historic occasion for the state. RJD was the lone party that had voted against the Bill in Parliament.
“The upper caste cell has been formed for the first time. Earlier, most political parties formed cells as per reservation granted in the Constitution. With the upper caste poor also getting 10% quota, JD-U president RCP Singh formed one for them also,” said party’s upper caste cell president Dr Nitish Kumar ‘Vimal’ alias Nitish Kumar ‘Tantan’, who has been with the JD-U since its inception and was also part of the Samata party since 1994.
He said the objective behind the ‘novel initiative’, which would also inspire other political parties, is to establish communication with people, try to know their issues and anger, if any, and ensure that the advantages of the government’s inclusive development approach reach them.
“We will expand the cell up to the village, panchayat and block levels. A couple of days later, a large number of upper caste friends drawn from different fields will also join us at a formal function in front of the party president. The idea is to make JD-U more and more inclusive with space for all. Most of the government programmes are also inclusive in nature,” he added.
He also cited the statement of a senior IPS officer Arvind Pandey, who called for the need of a separate ministry for the welfare of the poor among the upper castes. “Like other social groups, which have separate departments to look after their needs, the upper caste should also have one,” Pandey had said citing his personal views.