Nitish Kumar gears up for 2019 LS polls with quota politics back in focus

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The quota has always been an extremely politically sensitive issue in a caste-ridden state like Bihar and the politicians, very well know how to use this to their advantage.

Bihar Chief Minister, Nitish Kumar is also doing the same and indicating his preparations ahead of the Lok Sabha elections due in 2019. He recently introduced the reservation in outsourced contractual jobs provided by the state government. Kumar also pointed out the need for a debate at the national level on the scope of reservation in private sector.

As, the Bihar Chief Minister is well aware of the fact that its major opponent, RJD will not leave a single opportunity to pull him down, he is cautiously playing the moves. RJD under the leadership of former Bihar Chief Minister Lalu Prasad Yadav is in the wake of naming Nitish Kumar ‘anti-reservation’. The differences between Janta Dal United and Rashtriya Janta Dal has been growing ever since Nitish Kumar broke the grand alliance with RJD-Congress and joined hands with BJP to form the new government in Bihar.

Kumar’s new ally, BJP has also backed the decision of the Chief Minister to introduce reservation in outsourced contractual jobs provided by the state government.

Nitish has been ruling the state for more than a decade now and even though is a part of the NDA, the JD(U) leader has always been using his own brand of quota politics. Kumar was the one who brought the concept of the different Extremely Backward Castes (EBC) within the OBC quota. He has also been successful in gaining the confidence of different Extremely Backward Castes, ensuring befits of quota for them giving them the reservation of seats in the panchayat elections.

His move of bringing EBC under the mainstream politics has also helped him to keep a check on the left wing extremism in different parts of Bihar. Another belief of Nitish Kumar, that women from every section should also be accommodated has also helped him build and grow his women vote bank.

Even after becoming a part of the NDA, he still believes in following his principle of growth with justice (nayay ke sath vikash)”.

Meanwhile, Nitish Kumar is already fighting criticism and opposition from RJD Chief Lalu Prasad Yadav, his another immediate problem ahead of the 2019 polls is the seat sharing arrangement with BJP. Bihar has a total of 40 seats, of which BJP holds 22 and other allies of JD(U) have 9 seats. After JD(U) joined hands with BJP, it has become a difficult task for the party to negotiate the seat sharing arrangements, as none of the top leaders of JDU said anything on the issues of sharing the seats with BJP.

A JD(U) on condition of anonymity, in his statement to the press, said that “No one can figure out Nitish’s mind, and he could have made up his mind on the seat sharing arrangement with BJP and its ally. So, wait for his next move.” He also revealed that the decision of Nitish Kumar to suggest a debate at the national level regarding the reservation in private sector is also a politically tactful move ahead of the Lok Sabha elections due in 2019.

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