In Bihar, in the elections to the Rajya Sabha and the Legislative Council, all the parties took care of their respective vote-banks while selecting candidates. Besides the political concerns, they were also mindful of the economic, sociological and power equations. The result was that the Dalit castes were relegated to the margins while the BJP gave short shrift to its key base – the Bhumihars.
From the JDU, the name of Sharad Yadav was almost finalized for the RS. Many names were doing the rounds for the second seat. Among them were R.C.P. Singh and K.C. Tyagi. It was being said that Singh would get the advantage of being from Nalanda and belonging to the Kurmi caste. But from the way Tyagi was calling Nitish Kumar “PM material”, it was being speculated that he would pip Singh to the post. Ultimately, the party chose R.C.P. Singh. The JDU was the first to announce its candidates. The state chief of the party, Vashishtha Narayan Singh called a press conference to announce the names. For the Legislative Council, C.P. Sinha and Gulam Rasool Balyawi were chosen. Balyawi is currently a member of the RS and Sinha, the chairman of Kisan Ayog.
From the BJP, the candidature of Sushil Modi for Rajya Sabha was said to be certain. But the party’s national leadership favoured former state president Gopal Narayan Singh, who has links with the mining industry and also runs a medical college in Sasaram. For the Legislative Council, the BJP was in two minds as to whether it should put up candidates for one seat or two. Victory on one seat was certain while for winning the second, it would have needed additional votes. The party initially announced the name of only Arjun Sahni. The party appeared confused till May 30 as the RJD had also indicated that it would field a third candidate. That would have complicated matters for the BJP. On the evening of May 30, the RJD announced that it would not be fielding the third candidate. The BJP then immediately announced the candidature of former MLA Vinod Narayan Jha.
For the Legislative Council, all the three parties of Grand Alliance chose one forward Muslim each. Pasmandas were ignored. “Money power” is said to have a played a crucial role in the selection of Ranvijay Singh. C.P. Sinha was rewarded for his loyalty to JDU chief Nitish Kumar. BJP chose an EBC and a Brahmin.
Dalits, Banias and Bhumihars could not get a single seat in either the Rajya Sabha or the Legislative Council. Banias and Bhumihars are the cadre and the electoral base of the BJP. But then, many Bhumihars and Banias are already in the Rajya Sabha and the Legislative Council. Dalits were cheated by all the parties. There is no Dalit Rajya Sabha member from Bihar while Rajesh Ram is the only Dalit member of the Legislative Council. Despite this, no party chose to field Dalits for either of the two upper houses.
Forwards dominate legislative council
Of the seven Legislative Council seats that had become vacant, five went to the members of forward castes. RJD’s Quamar Alam and Ranvijay Singh, JDU’s Gulam Rasool Balyawi, Congress’ Tanvir Akhtar and BJP’s Vinod Narayan Jha – all come from forward castes. BJP’s Arjun Sahni is an EBC and JDU’s C.P. Sinha, an OBC.
Newly elected Rajya Sabha members
|Gopal Narayan Singh||BJP||Rajput|
Newly elected Legislative Council members
|Gulam Rasool Balyawi||JDU||Forward Muslim|
|Vinod Narayan Jha||BJP||Brahmin|
|Tanvir Akhtar||Congress||Forward Muslim|