11 April, 2021

Nitish Banks Lalu’s Votes

Bihar CM woos Yadavs as he sets out to dismantle friend-turned-foe’s long dominance over community

Photograph by PTI
Nitish Banks Lalu’s Votes

The Yadav vote bank has been an impregnable fortress held valiantly by Lalu Prasad Yadav over the past three decades in Bihar. But it appears to be under siege now, with chief minister Nitish Kumar out to breach what is considered to be the last frontier of the embattled RJD president ahead of the assembly elections.

A dominant OBC group comprising about 11-12 per cent of the total population, the Yadavs have played an assertive role in state politics, invariably reposing unflinching faith in the leadership of RJD president, regardless of whether he is in or out of power. Now, Nitish has set out on a mission to wean the all-important Yadav voters away from their maverick caste icon, currently serving a prison term in Jharkhand.

It is something Nitish is not known to have ever attempted, overtly or covertly, ever since he came to power 15 years ago. And he appears to have hit upon a two-pronged strategy to accomplish his goal. First, he is telling the Yadav voters how Lalu has served only his family at the cost of the entire community, and second, how he has...

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