Bihar plays PLU politics

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By NALIN VERMA in Patna
  • Published 4.03.09
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Patna, March 4: A political veteran since the Eighties, Shatrughan Sinha was believed to be wary of joining the poll fray in the absence of constituencies “suitable to his caste” and spurned BJP’s offer to contest elections earlier.

However, he is now pulling all stops to secure a party ticket to contest from the Patna Saheb seat — pre-dominantly belonging to the Kayastha community, to which Sinha belongs.

“The first actor to become a Union minister, Sinha would not have tried to contest had the delimitation commission not carved out a Kayastha seat,” said a BJP leader.

If anything, the BJP leader’s remark brings forth the fact that the caste factor outweighs even star value in the PLU (people like us) politics of Bihar. After all this is the state that has made the adage: “jaat ki beti jaat ko, ja vote jaath ko (marry the daughter into the caste and cast vote to the man of your caste)” popular.

Bihar has no Kayastha MP in the outgoing Lok Sabha, as the state had no seat from which a Kayastha candidate could have won. Now, for the first time in Bihar’s parliamentary history, the commission has created a constituency that would be to the Kayasthas what Madhepura is to Yadavs, Nalanda to Kurmis, Buxar to Brahmins and Kishenganj to Muslims.

In fact, politicians willing to contest from the Patna Saheb seat are all from the Kayastha community.

Another contender from the BJP is SIS chairman R.K. Sinha, a Kayastha man, and who, too, never contested the polls before.

Appreciating the importance of the caste politics, the “messiah” of Mandal commission, Lalu Prasad, installed a statue of Rajendra Prasad on the Rajendra Nagar railway station, changing Indian Railways’ rules and wooing the caste to which the first President belonged.

Lalu is also contemplating to field Binod Shrivastav — a Kayastha RJD leader — from the Patna Saheb seat.

Like Shotgun and Shrivastav, there are many more who never contested for the Lok Sabha polls and who have turned Titans overnight hoping to hit the Parliament portals — thanks to the PLU politics.

The new entrant to JD(U), Ranjan Yadav, is one of them. Ranjan, a three-time MP of Rajya Sabha, has never contested the Lok Sabha polls and spurned an offer made by previous boss Lalu Prasad to contest the old Patna seat and preferred to stay in the Rajya Sabha. This time he is set to enter the fray from the Pataliputra seat as a JD(U) nominee and that, too, against Lalu Prasad, if the latter throws his hat in the ring.

The high-profile RJD MLA from Dalit community, Anil Kumar, alias Sheru Bhai, a Rajya Sabha MP for two terms, was out of reckoning for the Lok Sabha polls.

But Anil Kumar has suddenly become a strong contender for Gopalganj — RJD boss’s home sear that stands reserved for the SC now.

On the other hand, there are many politicians who have been contesting the polls since the beginning of their careers, but now they find themselves without constituencies.