New Delhi: In a bid to reach out to the extremely backward classes (EBCs) ahead of the crucial Bihar elections, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has roped in former Jharkhand chief minister Raghubar Das to hold meetings in the state.
According to a senior BJP leader, Das has held 45 virtual meetings with the EBC workers of the party and ‘influencers’.
“Das is a senior leader, and his reaching out to the EBC community will only strengthen the party further. He has already participated in 45 virtual assembly meetings and is likely to hold a few more in the coming few days. Das also comes from the same community, and the move will help the party,” said the leader who didn’t wish to be named.
Last week, the BJP had indicated that former Maharashtra CM Devendra Fadnavis would play an “active role” in the Bihar elections. Fadnavis had attended the core committee meeting of the party’s Bihar unit this month through video conference.
The EBC factor
A second party functionary said Das’s meetings are taking place at the level of Vidhan Sabha and organised under the EBC wing of BJP’s Bihar unit.
According to a rough estimate, EBCs constitute around 30 per cent of the electorate in the state and are crucial for the political parties.
Das belongs to the Teli caste scattered across the state. The two other castes, Nishad and Chandravanshi, are largely concentrated in north and south Bihar, respectively, added a third leader.
“The BJP decided to rope in the former chief minister as he has a say in his community and will convince the voters to vote for the NDA,” the leader added.
According to a fourth leader, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar enjoys the support of the backward classes but the BJP decided to woo them too as several local parties are also trying to influence the voters.
“Take the example of Vikassheel Insaan Party (VIP) that was launched in 2018 by Mukesh Sahani and is targeting the Nishad community,” said the leader.
The Bihar polls
The assembly election is also significant for the BJP as, despite being in an alliance with the JD(U), it has been trying to position itself as the leading partner.
Bihar elections are likely to take place later this year, and the BJP and the JD(U) have already started campaigning.
These polls are crucial for the BJP as they come after a series of losses in state elections since 2018. The party lost the 2019 Jharkhand and 2020 Delhi elections too and was unable to form government in Maharashtra despite emerging as the single-largest party.