Intro : The electrifying political speeches including allegations and counter allegations in daily press conferences create more influences in Magadh region because of complete division of support base on conventional lines. Like Tirhut and Mithila region, Magadh comprising of 47 Assembly seats will also be a crucial factor in the coming Battle of Bihar.
When asked a person in Jahanabad, why do you have violent anger against other communities or castes? He turned his eyes and replied, it is Magadh where anger cannot be pacified without manifestation. Other person standing there announced a declaration, it is a Buddha region but he has gone to foreign tours for last so many years. The question hinges on mind, is still Buddha at least awaited here? At least, in this election, people do not think about him. There is nothing like forgiveness here and everyone wants to take revenge if he thinks, his caste interests were not protected under someone or it will be protected under someone. The electrifying political speeches including allegations and counter allegations in daily press conferences in Patna create more influences in this region because here there is complete division of supports, no one seems in doubt to whom he or she is going to support. One main reason, a caste fights against other caste, certainly through ballots only.
This region generally tends to be anti-establishment if there is something wrong in governance. However, own caste leader’s mistakes do not matter much as in case of Nalanda where Kurmis do not find any problem with Nitish Kumar. They are internally perturbed by this arrangement with Lalu Yadav but still majority of them support him and their support level is intensified in proportion of BJP supporters’ direct attack on Nitish Kumar. It is more in case when upper caste supporting BJP denouncing the performance of Nitish Kumar. So the issue of political DNA is also confined to the caste level but after Bhagalpur rally by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and announcement of 1.25 Lakh Crore Bihar package, the issue of development is slowly coming into the fore and fringe issues like political DNA are going to backyard.
In this region, there are 47 Assembly constituencies and 7 Parliamentary constituencies. In 2010 Assembly election, JD (U) won 27 seats and BJP got 15 seats. RJD in alliance with LJP got only 4 seats and Congress did not get anything here. In 2014 Lok Sabha election, BJP was ahead in 25 Assembly segments and its allies LJP and RLSP took lead in 13 seats. Overall, NDA won 38 Assembly segments out of total 47 seats in 2014 election. That itself is indicating that BJP has bridged the gap of caste lines for its support and Nitish Kumar may hardly have staunch caste support in 9 seats mostly confined to Nalanda.
In Magadh region, BJP has stalwarts like Sushil Kumar Modi, Ram Kripal Yadav, Giriraj Singh and Nand Kishore Yadav along with famous MLAs like Nitin Nabin, Prem Kumar, Chitranjan Sharma and others. Here JD (U) got dent in its entire vehicle because out of its 27 MLAs, there are some MLAs who are now not with
JD (U) like Jiten Ram Manjhi of Makhdumpur and Anant Kumar Singh of Mokama. In the Rally of Gaya on August 9, Narendra Modi declared that people have already decided in favour of a strong Bihar and Parivartan. The huge number of people attended the rally and sloganeering in favour of
BJP had no parallel. Really this is signal for BJP to focus or retain but the question is; how BJP is going to translate it into votes.
Different districts have different tests here. In Arwal, nobody was recognising Chitranjan Sharma in top political circle of BJP and there were protests against his ticket also but he won the election just by taking approx. 24,000 votes. This is a classic example of objective ticket distribution beyond nepotism and election management. BJP has faced many challenges in this region to contain the over enthusiastic level of its own supporters because caste demands the tickets which is a major challenge to be tackled. Among the same castes also, local leaders have good proximity with top state leaders by which their lobbying power is much higher compared to other region because this region includes Patna.
In this region, the entire social engineering is based on two main castes, Bhumihar and Kurmi. These two castes are clearly divided into the supports to BJP and JD (U). By their economic and social influences, Bhumihar and Kurmi seem to be dominant but the caste supports of Dalit or Mahadalit, other OBC like Kushwaha and Yadav and comparatively silent dominant caste Rajputs are very crucial in this election. In Arwal and Jahanabad, Bhumihar supports, in Aurangabad Rajput supports, in Gaya Dalit supports, in Nalanada Kurmi supports, in Patna Kayasth and Bhumihar supports will decide the course of this election. Based on the vocal castes’ supports and their power of influence, BJP has entered into the situation when if it will not get expected seats, it will be its own mismanagement only.
Naveen Kumar (The writer is senior political analyst)