Will Nitish Experiment Pasmanda-MBC-Mahadalit Equation
In UP Too In His 'War' Against Mayawati And Mulayam?
By Ashok Yadav
30 January, 2011
After the historic verdict of Bihar Assembly Elections, 2010, many well meaning political commentators have projected Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar as the most suitable Prime Minister candidate for 2014 parliament elections. Naturally, Nitish is also looking forward to prime ministership. What are the major challenges he is going to face in the next couple of years in his strides towards the premiere ship of India? Of course, challenges are many. But, in this article, I shall restrict myself to the challenges and opportunities that are going to greet Nitish vis-à-vis Uttar Pradesh Assembly Elections, 2012. Nitish must be realizing that his journey from Patna to New Delhi passes through Lucknow. He will have to seriously engage with the UP Assembly Elections, 2012 if he wishes to come near to transforming his aim into a reality.
In the present Indian political scenario, in the year 2011, there are two most potent contenders for the post of prime minister from the third front side- Nitish Kumar and Mayawati. Nitish must sideline Maya in order to remain number one in the race to prime ministership. Similarly, Maya too must sideline Nitish in order to retain her claim for the prime ministership from third front side. She has at her hand no opportunity to sideline Nitish as there is no likelihood of any general assembly election to take place in Bihar before the next general parliamentary elections. She has had one during the last assembly elections in Bihar which she miserably wasted. It seems that she did not realize that the second stint of Nitish as Bihar CM would elevate him to the status of her competitor for the PM post. So, while Nitish has got an opportunity to harm the prospects of Maya in the next UP assembly elections, Maya can only resist his attempts to make inroads in UP.
It would be a big achievement for Nitish if he succeeds in spoiling the bid of Maya to come to power for the second successive term. The big thing is that Nitish has wherewithal to do this. The social combination that he tried in Bihar elections is so potent that he can harm the chances of not only BSP but all major political formations including Mulayam’s Samajwadi Party.
After the result of Bihar assembly elections Mayawati must be ruing her announcement that a Chamar would be her heir. Just as non-Yadav backward castes revolted against the Yadav dominance in Laloo’s RJD and decimated him, there is likelihood that non-Chamar dalits in combination with most backward castes would go in rebellion against Chamar’s dominance in BSP. JD(U) in Bihar exploited the resentment of non-Yadav backward castes particularly most backward castes leaders. The Muslim had strong alliance with Laloo. At that very moment the Pasmanda movement had taken off the ground in the post-Mandal phase. After some initial fillip the Pasmanda movement got from Laloo, the latter came under pressure from Ashraf Muslim leaders of his party and withdrew from giving support and encouragement to the former. The Pasmanda activists had no option but to seek other avenues. JD(U) exploited the resentment of the Pasmanda activists against Laloo. Nitish paid visit to the residence, hardly fifty meters’ from the state office of BSP, of Ali Anwar, the chief protagonist of the Pasmanda movement, in run up to November, 2005 Bihar elections and the alliance was clinched. In 2005 JD(U) exploited the contradictions in backward and muslim politics and toppled the fifteen years long rule of Laloo. Having come into power in 2005 Nitish now fixed his eye to win 2010 Bihar elections. He consolidated votes of most backward castes by giving them reservation in panchayat and local body elections. Almost all backward muslim castes are in the category of MBC. By giving fifty percent reservation to women in all reserved and general categories in panchayat and local body elections, Nitish achieved what Sonia Gandhi has been desperately trying to achieve through women reservation bill. In preparation for 2010 Bihar assembly elections he exploited contradictions of dalit politics by making Mahadalit Commission. By acquiring a new identity the Mahadalit of Bihar consolidated behind JD(U) and cast their votes en block to give historic verdict to Nitish. The historic mandate that Nitish got in 2010 elections was made possible by Mahadalits among Dalits, Pasmanda among Muslims, Most Backward among Backward and to some extent, the Women. The inflated ego of Laloo, Ramvilas and Mayawati failed them to see and appreciate new social movements and, thereby, emergence of new social blocks with lots of electoral promises.
The state of UP has substantial social-political space for Nitish brand of politics to expand there. Like Laloo, Mulayam too is a prisoner of Muslim-Yadav alliance that does not allow him to see the emergence of Pasmanda movement and politics in Uttar Pradesh. Like Laloo and Mulayam, Mayawati too is a prisoner of her own ego that blocks her vision to see things beyond her immediate surroundings. Mayawati too has failed to reconnect with the new social awakenings and movements. The political landscape of UP resembles that of Bihar of 2005 giving Nitish another opportunity to exhibit his political talent.
Intensive tour of Ali Anwar, the JD(U) leader and MP, in UP among the backward Muslims points to the fact that Nitish is seriously preparing ground for himself in UP. Nitish’s own castemen, the Kurmi, are, unlike Bihar, substantial in population in UP. The legendry social justice icon Ram Swaroop Verma belonged to the Kurmi caste. The Kurmi of UP is socially more awakened, thanks to struggle of Ram Swaroop Verma against Brahminical culture, than the Kurmi of Bihar. The Pasmanda, the Mahadalit, the Most Backward Castes combined with the Kurmi can make effective weapon for Nitish in his 'war' against Mayawati and Mulayam in the next year assembly elections in UP. Let us see how far Nitish succeeds in using this combination in UP. Or, he will prefer to keep himself confined to Bihar. That is a big question mark.
[Ashok Yadav is a social activist and writer. He can be contacted on email@example.com]
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