Ram Vilas Paswan and Jitan Ram Manjhi, two prominent Dalit leaders on whom BJP was banking to bring for NDA nearly 16 per cent votes of schedule castes, failed to deliver in the Bihar elections, as reflected in the results.
The ‘grand alliance’ of RJD, JD(U) and Congress got more support from the electorate of Scheduled Caste communities than the NDA, notwithstanding Paswan and Manjhi always being seen by the side of Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his 26 election rallies in the state.
An analysis of results show that in fact nine Paswans won from the JD(U)-RJD-Congress camp in comparison to two of NDA. Even these two in NDA was won one each by BJP and Rashtriya Lok Samata Party (RLSP), while Ram Vilas Paswan’s LJP failed to bag any seat.
Similarly, among mahadalits for which BJP relied on Jitan Ram Manjhi, the ‘grand alliance’ has 15 winners while Manjhi, who is head of Hindustani Awam Morcha (HAM), is the sole winner from his party. BJP has three winners from the mahadalit community.
Out of 10 mahadalits fielded by RJD, nine triumphed. JD(U) had given ticket to six mahadalits and five of them came out victorious, and in Congress, out of three nominees, one won.
In the NDA camp, BJP which had fielded 11 mahadalit candidates, three won, HAM has sole elected member in Jitan Ram Manjhi out of four, while LJP and RLSP that had given tickets to three and one mahadalits, respectively, drew a naught.
Out of a total of 243 seats in Bihar Legislative Assembly, 38 are earmarked for SC and two for ST.
Union minister Ram Vilas Paswan’s party has two winners out of 41 and both hail from Extremely Backward Castes.
In RLSP of Union minister Upendra Kushwaha, there is a winner from his own Kushwaha caste and another a Paswan.
When asked about this, Jitan Ram Manjhi told PTI today that his Manjhi castemen voted aggressively for the NDA.
“Paswan, Ravidas and Manjhi are the three major castes with 5, 5 and 4 per cent of votes out of a total of 16 per cent votes of dalits and mahadalits…Manjhi voters turned out aggressively in favour of NDA,” he claimed.
Manjhi’s claim is hard to belief as he himself lost at his sitting Makhdumpur reserved seat while his son Santosh Kumar Suman tasted defeat at Kutumba in Aurangabad.