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Monday, Aug 19, 2019

Lok Sabha elections 2019: Bihar’s upper castes to get BJP ticket

Although the party has yet to announce the candidate list, the names have almost been finalised, the leaders said.

lok-sabha-elections Updated: Mar 20, 2019 18:47 IST
A BJP supporter waves a party flag at NDA's Parivartan Rally in Bhagalpur.
A BJP supporter waves a party flag at NDA's Parivartan Rally in Bhagalpur.(PTI File photo)
         

More than half the candidates the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) will field in the 17 constituencies it will contest in Bihar during the April-May general elections will be from the upper castes, two BJP leaders have said.

Although the party has yet to announce the candidate list, the names have almost been finalised, the leaders said. Under the seat-share deal struck between the BJP and allies Janata Dal (United) and Lok Janshakti Party (LJP), the BJP and JDU will each contest 17 of Bihar’s 40 seats and the LJP six.

“Nine out of 17 candidates will be from the upper castes,” the first BJP leader said. “There is an attempt to play to the upper-caste gallery while leaving the OBC space for ally Nitish Kumar.” Five of the BJP’s 17 candidates – almost one-third the total candidates – are Rajputs. Sitting MPs Radha Mohan Singh (West Champaran), Raj Kumar Singh (Arrah), Rajiv Pratap Rudy (Saran), Sushil Kumar Singh (Aurangabad) and Janardan Singh Sigriwal (Maharajganj) will again be given tickets, the first leader said. Two Brahmin leaders, Union minister Ashwini Kumar Choubey and former MLA Gopalji Thakur, will get tickets from Buxar and Darbhanga. Union minister Giriraj Singh (an upper-caste Bhumihar leader) and Ravi Shankar Prasad (a Kayastha) will be fielded from Begusarai and Patna Sahib, he added. These four communities – Rajput, Brahmin, Bhumihar and Kayastha –account for less than 15% of Bihar’s population, but voters have largely been in favour of the BJP in the last few elections.

“We decided our candidates on the basis of who can win,” the second leader said. “Of course, caste matters in Bihar, and we wanted to consolidate our upper-caste support base.” “We will announce our candidates in a day or two,” the first leader said. The list will also include three Yadavs -- Nityanand Rai from Ujiarpur, Ram Kripal Yadav from Patliputra and Ashok Yadav from Madhubani. West Champaran MP Sanjay Jaiswal and Shivhar MP Rama Devi, from the Vaishya community, will be given tickets again. Pradeep Singh and Ajay Nishad, from the extremely backward classes, will get tickets from Araria and Muzaffarpur. Sasaram MP Chedi Paswan is the only Dalit in the BJP’s list.

First Published: Mar 20, 2019 00:02 IST

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