Article by Anwarul Hoda and Dr. Manisha Bangar
After the Bihar Elections with 43 MLA’s of his party Janta Dal (U), Nitish Kumar took oath as 22nd Chief Minister of Bihar. In a neck and neck fight with Grand-Alliance NDA managed to secure 125 seats and return to form the government once again.
In Bihar, Nitish Kumar led National Democratic Alliance for the first time with two deputies CM’s has formed the government. The Assembly session has also begun with Tejaswi Yadav chosen as leader of the opposition.
In elections, caste has been always an important and influential factor but in Bihar, it often dictates the results. Bihar has a history of caste struggle and dominance over political powers. There was a time where the power of the state was controlled by the upper caste but gradually Bihar evolved with social movements and the rise of political aspirations among OBC‘s and SCs. In the last three decades, political power shifted to OBC’s and Yadav emerged as the politically powerful caste in the state.
Savarna Group are Back in Power
Though Yadav still sends the highest number of MLA’s in the parliament this time with BJP became the second-largest party, Upper caste too gained their dominance over the state. After three decades 80 Upper caste MLA’s found their way in the Bihar Assembly. In this election total 64 Savaran were chosen as MLA’s, Rajput being the dominant caste sends 28 MLA’s followed by Bhumiyar 21, Brahmin, 12 and Kaysth 3.
2020 Vs 2015
In this election, there has been a sharp increase in the number of Savarna MLA’s. If we look back to 2015, the total number of Savarna MLA was 52. Rajput back then too was the largest block with 20 MLA’s. 18 legislators were Bhumiyar while 11 Brahmins and three Kaysthas. In this term, there will be 8 more Rajput, 03 Bhumiyar and 1 Brahmin. However, the number of Kayasthas remains the same.
Let’s Talk Caste Among Muslims
The Muslim candidates who have won the 2020 Bihar elections are 08 from RJD, 04 from Congress, 01 from CPI (ML), 01 from BSP and 05 from AIMIM. Out of 19 Muslim legislators, 16 MLA’s are from Ashraf group or the upper caste. There are 11 Sheikh, 03 Sayed and 2 are Pathan. Only three are from the Pasmandas despite being the 85 percent of the total Muslim population in the state. AIMIM, Congress and RJD each have one Pasmanada MLA and among the three two belongs to Kulahiya 2 and 1 from Dhuniya caste.
Party wise Assessment of Winning MLA’s
Out of 64 MLA’s, 45 are from NDA while 17 from the Grand- Alliance. If we further break it BJP has the most number of upper caste MLA; 33. In NDA JD (U) has 9 MLA while VIP and HAM have 2 and 1 respectively. Whereas in the Grand Alliance RJD and Congress each has 8 MLA and 1 from the Left combined. The two remaining Savarna MLA are from LJP and independent.
In Indian Elections India, the probability of a candidate winning elections majorly depends on the amassed wealth, manpower, influence over the system and most importantly caste and inter-caste rivalry the constituency.
More than 200 caste group resides in Bihar though in this election only 36 of them are getting their representation in the assembly.
However, the bigger disparity is a huge chunk of Bihar Legislative Assembly is occupied by just 10 castes; Yadav (52), Rajput (28), Bhumiyaar (21), Kushwaha (16), Brahman (12), sheikh (11), Kurmi (9), Paswan (13), Ravidas (13), and Teli (9). Out of 243 legislative seats, 184 MLA’s comes from these 10 castes in which four of them are Savarna. Three are backward caste and the remaining three are Dalits.
And again if we remove three Dalit castes, Paswan (13), Ravidas (13), and Teli (9) from top 10 the result we get is beyond shocking; 149 MLA’s which is 60 per cent of total assembly seats are represented by just 7 castes.
No matter what we conclude Caste is an inevitable factor which just not decides political dimensions but also dictates social and economic prospects. Everyday life here in India is guided by our caste identity. Though the nature of caste functionality has changed in capitalist/Industrialist era influence and discrimination remain the same.
Caste oppression is systemic, and every one of us participates in it knowingly or unknowingly, however, it’s a privilege to say caste doesn’t exist.
Dr Manisha Bangar also says that “Along with regionalism, casteism is also a big issue in …