Political prowess of Rajbhars and Nishads come to fore

Political prowess of Rajbhars and Nishads come to fore

Varanasi (UP): They are smaller communities but have political acumen to understand the significance of fast approaching last phase of polling. Smaller in numbers as compared to Yadavs and Dalits, Rajbhars and Nishads have held their heads up and thus resorted to politics of bargaining. While Nishad Party has struck a deal with BJP and also its leader Praveen Nishad decided to shift to Sant Kabir Nagar to contest polls on BJP ticket, the Suheldev Bharatiya Samaj Party (SBSP) has decided to take a different approach. SBSP is led by Om Prakash Rajbhar, a cabinet minister under Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, but has fielded candidates against Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Varanasi and some other seats.

Mr Rajbhar's stance is generally seen as a political bargaining but his move to field candidates in hubs such as Ghazipur can upset BJP calculations. The saffron party has re-nominated Union Minister Manoj Sinha from the constituency where caste equations on ground would favour Samajwadi-BSP-RLD alliance. A candidate seeking to get some Rajbhar votes and also other smaller segments have made Mr Sinha's task more challenging. Ghazipur-based Pt Arvind Mishra says actually Mr Rajbhar is upset with the BJP for its alleged attempt 'embrace' SBSP into its fold and force the outfit to give up its individual identity. "On this score I say the last phase of polling is important for smaller caste groups like Kushwas, Rajbhars and Nishads," he says. BJP, however, remains confident that these smaller caste groups will remain with it as they know the "dangerous ramification" of playing second fiddle to Dalits of BSP or Yadavs of Samajwadi Party. "We are confident our vote base of 2014 as well as of 2017 assembly polls is intact and common voters from smaller caste groups firmly remain loyal to Prime Minister for his inclusive politics and welfare measures," says BJP leader Ashok Pandey. Given the caste factors, according to sources in the Samajwadi Party, non Yadav caste groups Binds, Mallah and Mauryas would also play a decisive role in elections in Varanasi and number of adjoining constituencies. Intensifying the caste games, SBSP of Rajbhars has now announced backing Congress party in Mirzapur. Samajwadi Party nominee Ram Charitra Nishad and Union Minister Anupriya Patel of Apna Dal, an ally of the saffron party.

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