The National Democratic Alliance finalised its seat-sharing arrangement for Bihar Assembly elections. Bhojpur region, the land of Veer Kunwar Singh comprising of 22 Assembly seats is now all set for Assembly elections 2015. Like other regions, Bhojpur will be a decisive factor in finalising the winner of Bihar battle.
The decision of BJP to fight on 160 seats and leaving all others to its alliance partners, Lok Janshakti Party (LJP), Hindustani Awam Morcha (HAM) and Rashtriya Lok Samata Party (RLSP) may work on social combinations that may pay it maximum dividends provided in the choice of candidates, or in the messages it sends out to its particular constituents. However, this social combination based on certain strategy of social engineering against Lalu-Nitish duo does not have much importance in Bhojpur region where the upper caste is all pervading influential in politics and they contain the flow and air of all OBC and Dalit castes in politics.
The lands of Veer Kunwar Singh and historic battle field of Buxar against British are now all set for Assembly election 2015. This is the region of excellence in medieval and modern Bihar and now producing large share of food grains, especially rice for rest parts of the State. It is a developed region which has proximity to Patna on one side and Varanasi on the other side. From both the sides, it is not only receiving the economic benefits but also strong political air.
BJP needs only a binding medium to get the finish line in Bhojpur region as it is the strongest region for the Party. In this region, BJP has fight only in those seats where RJD candidates will be fielded by Mahagathbandhan. JD (U) has fully lost its ground here and Congress has some presence only in reserved seats of Sasaram where former Speaker, Meera Kumar still has good personal contacts. After the death of Brahmeshwar Singh (Mukhiyaji) on June 1, 2012, Nitish Kumar faced strong public unrest and severe rioting and it became a nightmare for him to contain this unrest.
Thereafter, he does not even dare to visit this region, especially Arrah. Brahmeshwar Singh was basically a Bhumihar leader and this region basically belongs to Rajputs. The anger against Nitish Kumar after his death has shown strong political and social bond among all upper castes which is in favour of BJP now.
In this region, there are 22 Assembly constituencies and 4 Parliamentary constituencies. In 2010 Assembly elections, BJP won 9 seats and JD (U) got 8 seats. RJD in alliance with LJP got only 3 seats and LJP 1 seat. Congress did not get anything here but one independent candidate won 1 seat of Dehri. In 2014 Lok Sabha polls, only three Assembly segments gave leads to RJD, BSP and Congress otherwise all other 19 seats went to BJP and its allies.
JD (U) had 8 MLAs in 2010 but now the situation is different. Sunil Pandey of Tarari is not in JD (U) as he is alleged to be involved in Brahmeshwar Mukhiya killing. Hullas Pandey, brother of Sunil Pandey, has recently fought Legislative Council election on the ticket of LJP. A Brahmin Leader, Karakat MLA, Rajeshwar Raj is reported to join BJP. So, effectively JD (U) has now only 6 MLAs. Rajput leader and RJD, MLA of Barhara of Arrah, Raghwendra Pratap Singh is now very dissatisfied with RJD and he may damage the Party in the entire district. Similarly, Bhai Dinesh, RJD MLA of Jagdishpur constituency is reported ready to come to NDA as he is very close to Pappu Yadav. RJD has only one popular leader, Bhagwan Singh Kushwaha in this region and JD (U) has only one big name here who is Ramdhani Singh of Karghar constituency.
In this election scheduled in last week of October in this region, JD (U), RJD and Congress combination does not have strong hold but among these three parties of Mahagathbandhan, only RJD may give fight to BJP. Here, BJP does not have only own cadre based supports but its supports have increased because of heavy anti-incumbency against Nitish and EBC castes natural distance with Yadav caste or Lalu Yadav in this region. Once Nitish Kumar joined hands with Lalu Yadav, all ECBs went from him to BJP. In this way, BJP has managed social combination of Upper castes, ECB and Dalits. The combination of leaders like Jitan Ram Manjhi, Ramvilas Paswan and BJP own MP, Chhedi Paswan has generated a good support of Dalits for BJP. Presence of Upendra Kushwaha in Karakat has also generated favorable OBC equation for the Party. Therefore, this region has fully become the bastion of BJP or NDA and now much more depends on how BJP is distributing the tickets.
Naveen Kumar (The writer is senior political analyst)