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Caste whiff in rebel dissent
In dire straits

Patna, April 24: BJP in-charge of Bihar affairs Kalraj Mishra had a marathon session with party leaders today to douse the dissent fire against deputy chief minister Sushil Kumar Modi but his efforts, observers maintain, were fruitless.

The rebels refused to back out from their demand of Modi’s replacement as the deputy chief minister. Though they were not coming out to the press today, they refused to “lay their arms down” till their demands were addressed by Mishra. Mishra, on his part, ruled out possibilities of change in the leadership. “There is no question of change for the issue is not in the party’s scheme of things in the election year. We have to go to the Lok Sabha polls in unison,” he said.

The BJP in in-charge of Bihar affairs ruled out that there was a difference in the party. “The party leadership is ready to address MLAs’ grievances. Its being addressed at the appropriate party forum,” he further said. However, what the BJP leadership will find hard to resolve for the time being is the “actual reason” that has caused rebel in the party in the wake of the revamp in Nitish Kumar-led council of ministers.

The exclusion of a few ministers is not the only reason for the rebels raising a banner of revolt against a “backward” Sushil Kumar Modi. In fact, some ministers — mainly belonging to the “upper castes” — find the portfolio change as “disdainful”.

For instance, Aswhini Kumar Choubey, a Brahmin, did not join his newly allotted public health engineering department, at least for a week. Choubey, according to party sources, is still sour for losing the coveted urban development department. Choubey joined his new department only after some strong words from the party high command.

The rebellion in the BJP, as observers feel, has a caste overtone in the caste-ridden socio-political set up of Bihar.

The “upper” castes, which have traditionally been dominating the party leadership in the state, according to the sources, feel that Modi who has acquired a “tall image” in the state’s NDA dispensation has been callous to their interests.

Though the rebels also have members from a few backward class, former state party president Gopal Narayan Singh, a Rajput, is primarily leading the rebels’ pack. Singh and others of his ilk find it a right time to launch a final battle against Modi when the party has Rajnath Singh, a Rajput as its national president.

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