Modi picks Giriraj to assuage Bhumihars

Modi picks Giriraj to assuage Bhumihars

The induction of three BJP MPs from Bihar – Rajiv Pratap Rudy, Ram Kripal Yadav and Giriraj Singh –  into the Narendra Modi ministry provides the clearest evidence that the prime minister has tried to assuage the ruffled feathers of the upper caste segment in the state which vociferously rooted for him during the Lok Sabha elections but found itself under-represented in the Modi’s maiden team.

The most vocal of them all was the militant upper caste Bhumihar community, which backed the BJP to the hilt, but found not a single representation from Bihar in the Union council of ministers in May this year. As a consequence, when by-elections were held in August for the 10 Assembly seats, the numerically-strong Bhumihar voters reportedly switched their allegiance to the Congress-RJD-JD(U) combine, which, in turn, led the grand alliance win six out of 10 seats and the BJP could scrape through only in four constituencies.

Against this backdrop, the state’s top BJP leadership persuaded its high command not to antagonise this segment, or else, it could be fatal for the BJP in the 2015 Assembly elections. This was one reason why controversial MP from Nawada, Giriraj Singh, on Sunday found a place in the Modi team.

Secondly, former deputy chief minister and Bihar BJP’s undisputed leader Sushil Kumar Modi has, of late, been drawing flak from his party leaders, particularly those from the Bhumihar community, who opposed the move to name him (Sushil Modi) the chief ministerial candidate for next year elections. Prominent among the “enemy within” were Dr C P Thakur, Chandra Mohan Rai and Giriraj Singh, all Bhumihars.
By inducting Giriraj, the BJP has not only placated the miffed Bhumihars, it has also made the road for Sushil Modi a bit smooth.

The other upper caste Rajputs have, meanwhile, got more than their due as Rajiv Pratap Rudy is the second Rajput MP from Bihar to get a place in the Modi’s ministry. The man, who defeated former Bihar chief minister Rabri Devi from Saran, could not be too happy on being made a Minister of State (Independent charge), as he was MoS, Independent charge, even in the Vajpayee government more than a decade back. His contemporary Ravi Shankar Prasad, who, too, was MoS in Vajpayee regime, was made a Cabinet minister in Modi government in May but Rudy was not that lucky precisely because Radha Mohan Singh, the pliable Union Agriculture Minister, filled the Rajput quota. Rudy’s recent role as Maharashtra-in-charge has apparently fetched him a reward with a ministerial berth.

So far as Ram Kripal Yadav is concerned, the four-time MP  has been made a Union minister for the first time. Although he had all the requisite qualifications for being a minister when he was in the RJD, his credentials were overlooked by his former mentor Lalu Prasad. Ram Kripal, an influential Yadav leader, has been rewarded for defeating Lalu’s daughter Misa Bharti in a keen contest from Pataliputra Lok Sabha seat.

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