Bihar elections: Will the trio of Kushwaha, Owaisi, and Mayawati spoil the grand alliance?

BJP-JDU-HUM-VIP of the ruling National Democratic Alliance (NDA) and RJD, Congress and Left parties of the Grand Alliance besides the Rashtriya Lok Samata Party (RLSP) of Upendra Kushwaha, Asaduddin Owaisi’s All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) and Mayawati’s Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) alliance are also in the fray.

The coalition which calls itself the Grand Secular Democratic Front (GSDF), its vote bank is the Other Backward Classes (OBC), especially the Kushwahas, Muslim minorities, and Scheduled Castes. This vote bank is the base vote of RLSP chief Upendra Kushwaha, AIMIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi and BSP chief Mayawati. This alliance has created vote bank bottlenecks for the RJD, Congress, and the Grand Alliance of the three Left parties, as it could destroy the RJD’s support base of OBCs and minorities. Especially in Kishanganj, Araria, and minority-dominated Seemanchal belt and Buxar belt of Kaimur bordering Uttar Pradesh. The NDA is more hopeful than this.

Projected Upendra Kushwaha as CM face
Meanwhile, after exiting the Grand Alliance and becoming the third front, GSDF has projected RLSP chief Upendra Kushwaha as CM face during the election. The alliance fielded candidates from Owaisi’s AIMIM in a majority of 243 seats. Owaisi’s AIMIM has 18 seats, RLSP in 104 seats and Mayawati’s party in 80 seats. AIMIM’s first success in Bihar was in the by-elections held last year when it won the Kishanganj assembly seat. This time AIMIM is contesting 13 seats in Seemanchal out of 18 of Bihar. The party has fielded predominantly Muslim faces in minority-dominated constituencies like Jokihat, where Shahnawaz Alam, the younger son of the late Union Minister Mohammad Taslimuddin, has been fielded. After being denied the nomination, Shahnawaz moved from the RJD (RJD) to AIMIM.

A triangular fight with BJP, Mahagathbandhan and AIMIM candidates.
Similarly, in seats like Bahadurganj, Kishanganj and Thakurganj as well as Amour and Basi in Purnia and Pranpur in Katihar, AIMIM has fielded candidates, mostly prominent Sorajpuris, Kulhaiyas and Shershadbadi. (There are different groups of local Muslims). RJD and JDU candidates are in fray. Muslim communities constitute around 70% of the population in Kishanganj and Araria districts where polarization on religious lines in the past decided the electoral fate of the candidates. This time, the BJP is contesting the Kishanganj seat in the hope of securing it in a triangular fight with Mahagathbandhan and AIMIM candidates.

AIMIM’s vote bank on youth support among Muslims in Seemanchal,
Ramji Singh, a local businessman from Kishanganj, said that AIMIM’s vote bank on youth support among Muslims in Seemanchal has formed because in the last few years Owaisi has made this belt I have gained some influence through my regular visits. As a partner, the BSP and RLSP’s front wants to broaden its base in the region by garnering a few pieces of Dalit votes and Yadav votes, though this is not a large number.

The support of veteran socialist and former MP Devendra Yadav is seen as attracting Yadav votes in Seemanchal and Mithilanchal (Darbhanga and Samastipur belt), where Kushwaha also has a large vote base. RLSP spokesman Faizal Malik said that we are a formidable front as we have the support of Dalits, Muslims, and OBCs including Yadav and Kushwaha. Our front will be a game-changer in this election. AIMIM general secretary Aftab Ahmed also made a similar claim. He said that our front is a viable option for RJD and NDA. This will appear in the election results. We hope to do well in both Kaimur and Gopalganj and Seemanchal belt. Observers said that Kushwaha’s entry into the front gave the alliance some legitimacy, But it would remain a frontier as it formed late and lacked an organizational set-up. Many see this as a possible vote split that could spoil the prospects of RJD and Janata Dal (United) in some seats in Seemanchal and Central Bihar. Both the RJD and JD (U) have a huge hold on Muslim votes. The Grand Alliance has fielded 33 Muslim candidates and JD (U) 11.

These people say that Naval Kishore Chaudhary, a political observer and former principal of Patna College, said that the secular front is a coalition of marginal leaders who have lost their base and pushed to the extent of irrelevance in the politics of the state. Kushwaha’s agreement with the BSP and Owaisi is an attempt to maintain their relevance, nothing more. There will be no effect on the front. AIMIM can influence some seats in Seemanchal by playing its politics on religious lines and local issues, but it will not affect minority votes across the state.

On the other hand, RJD Chief Ministerial candidate Tejashwi Prasad Yadav also took charge and said that some people come as vote-sharing during the elections. Such experiments were conducted in Jharkhand and the result was seen. The people gave a decisive mandate.

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