Bihar polls: With former ally LJP eating into Dalit vote base, BJP and JDU become extra cautious

The LJP campaign against incumbent chief minister Nitish Kumar is being seen in the BJP as a message for Dalits across the state to vote against the NDA.

Published: 18th October 2020 10:35 AM  |   Last Updated: 18th October 2020 11:50 AM   |  A+A-

Lok Janshakti Party president Chirag Paswan. | (File | PTI)

Lok Janshakti Party president Chirag Paswan. (File photo | PTI)

Express News Service

NEW DELHI:  The Bharatiya Janata Party is becoming extra cautious to showcase the BJP-JDU unity in the face of the Lok Janshakti Party emerging as a potential spoiler for both the NDA constituents. 

The LJP campaign against incumbent chief minister Nitish Kumar is being seen in the BJP as a message for Dalits across the state to vote against the NDA.

While the chief minister hopes to retain the support base among Mahadalits, a classification for a large number of Dalit sub-castes, the BJP is wary of the party's new-found following among Dalits slipping away because of the high pitch campaign of the LJP.

"Paswans among Dalits may consolidate in favour of the LJP along with a few more Dalit sub-castes. By fielding candidates against the JD(U), the LJP campaign is giving a pan-Bihar message. In seats where the BJP is in contention, the LJP campaign may influence Dalits to vote for the Opposition alliance Mahagathbandhan," a senior BJP functionary said.

ALSO READ | Nitish to be next CM of Bihar, asserts Amit Shah amid tensions between BJP, LJP

The Muslim-Yadav-Dalit consolidation against the NDA could boost the prospects of the Mahagathbandhan consisting of the RJD-Congress-Left, note political observers.

The BJP has already gone into damage control, holding joint rallies with senior leaders of the JD(U) to ward off the perception on the ground of the saffron outfit entertaining a Plan-B in the post-poll scenario.

The BJP is leaning on the appeal of the incumbent chief minister to transfer the Mahadalit vote base to the party's candidates and ensure unity among workers of the NDA constituents.

The LJP has also put up a few candidates against the BJP in the Bihar Assembly elections. Some BJP rebels are also in the fray in a number of constituencies.

Besides the two large alliances, smaller parties in regions of their respective political influences are also testing their might, banking on the caste appeal of individual candidates. 

"There’s a clear scenario of multi-cornered contests on most of the constituencies and holding on to respective support bases is a clear challenge for the NDA constituents,"  added the BJP functionary.

Grand Alliance manifesto promises special status for Bihar

RJD's chief ministerial face Tejashawi Yadav christened the Grand Alliance's manifesto as 'Pran Hamar' (our resolve), which calls for a special status for Bihar and repealing the new farm laws.

"(US President) Trump will not come to accord special status to Bihar, which was once promised by the Prime Minister," he said, in an apparent reference to Modi's ties with the US President.

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