Nitish's caste calculations may go awry

Nitish's caste calculations may go awry

Nitish's caste calculations may go awry

A few weeks before the Election Commission announced the poll dates, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar trashed all pre-poll surveys and asserted that when the election results were out, many BJP leaders boasting of victory would run for cover.

Since then, the caste-ridden state has undergone some tectonic shifts. The upper castes comprising Brahmins, Bhumihars, Rajputs and Kayasthas are desperate to teach Nitish a lesson for dumping the BJP, with whose support he rode to unbridled power for the second time in 2010. The Muslims, who lauded Nitish for doing a lot for minorities, too have shifted gear and rallied behind the Lalu-led alliance, as the RJD-Congress-NCP combine appears more competent in defeating Narendra Modi’s candidates.

The social calculus of Mahadalits (extremely poor among Dalits) too underwent a change as Bihar’s top Dalit leader Ram Vilas Paswan crossed over the fence and joined Modi-wagon.

Nitish apparently failed to read the writing on the wall. Many of his close aides admit in private, he shot himself in his foot because of his inflated ego. Whatever may be the case, it’s now been proved beyond doubt that in Bihar, people don’t cast their votes, they vote castes. But if anyone thinks that the results in Bihar will be on the lines of pre-poll surveys which give BJP a minimum of 25 seats out of 40, then think again.

Security up for 3rd phase

Meanwhile, Bihar government has made elaborate security arrangements in riverine areas and diaras along the Ganga and the Kosi rivers ahead of polling in seven Lok Sabha constituencies on April 24.

Expressing satisfaction over the peaceful polling in the last two phases, Bihar Chief Secretary Ashok Kumar Sinha said, “For the third phase of polling on April 24, we have decided to provide mounted police and river patrolling in diara areas, since the seven LS constituencies are spread over in riverine belt of Ganga and Kosi.”