JD-U to bolster caste support through RLSP merger


Caste-based politics has always been a feature of Bihar’s politics and the merger of Upendra Kushwaha’s Rashtriya Lok Samta Party (RLSP) with the ruling Janata Dal-United is seen as an effort of Chief Minister Nitish Kumar to strengthen its support base.

With the merger, Nitish Kumar is looking to target the Kurmi and Kushwaha voters, and thus, the development is also likely to pose a big challenge for the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD).

Soon after the merger, Nitish Kumar rewarded Kushwaha with key post of JD-U’s Parliamentary Board President.

With the merger, the caste credentials of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA), which comprised the BJP, the JD-U, Jitan Ram Manjhi’s Hindustani Awam Morcha (HAM) and Mukesh Sahani’s Vikassheel Insaan Party (VIP), seems to be strengthened in the state.

Leader of Opposition Tejashwi Yadav, who reacts to any small development in the state, is yet to comment on the merger. It should be noted that prior to Kushwaha merging his outfit with the JD-U, a lot of RLSP leaders including its state President Virendra Kushwaha and General Secretary Nirmal Kushwaha had joined the RJD.

Kushwaha might have not won a single seat during the 2020 Assembly elections and 2019 Lok Sabha elections, but he had won all the three seats it contested in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections.

The Congress is not perturbed by the merger with state Youth Congress President Lallan Kumar saying: “Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and Upendra Kushwaha are two broken ‘filaments’, you can’t light a bulb from this. The JD-U has lost its support and the Assembly polls are example of this.”

“After losing prominence in the politics at the Centre, Kushwaha is trying to regain it by joining the JD-U. The caste-based politics can’t sustain for long. Both the leaders have come together for their political benefits. They hardly pose any challenge for other parties,” he added.