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With Upendra Kushwaha Exacting a Hard Bargain, Nitish Targets OBC Votebank in Bihar

Upendra Kushwaha is considered the leader of Koeri community who have been traditionally voting with Kurmi community due to cultural affinity as they are called twin sons of Lord Rama - Luv (Kurmi) and Kush (Koeri).

Alok Kumar | News18dmalok

Updated:October 1, 2018, 7:00 PM IST
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With Upendra Kushwaha Exacting a Hard Bargain, Nitish Targets OBC Votebank in Bihar
A combination photograph of Nitish Kumar (L) and Upendra Kushwaha (R).
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Patna: Bihar CM Nitish Kumar rarely participates in any caste congregations but persistent efforts by his ally Upendra Kushwaha to emerge as the leader of Luv-Kush (Kurmi-Koeri) vote bank forced the CM to invite more than 800 workers of Kushwaha community at his residence.

While interacting with them, Nitish Kumar promised that his government will open sabji mandis at subdivision level, which will predominantly help the vegetable producing Koeri community of the state.

According to the plan, the state agency would buy vegetables and sell it in the open market. It was lauded by the workers who had come from block level committees of the Janata Dal (United).

During the five-hour long meeting a new forum 'Kushwaha Rajnitik Vikas Manch' was formed.

JD(U) MLA Umesh Kushwaha told News18 that the chief minister assured them to give adequate representation at every level. Kushwaha, on July 8 this year, was tasked by the top party leadership to hold a grand feast for the community leaders cutting across party lines and take feedback from them about ally Upendra Kushwaha who leads the Rashtriya Lok Samata Party (RLSP).

Based upon the feedback from the grand feast in Vaishali, Nitish decided to meet prominent Kushwaha leaders at his residence in Patna sometime in the first week of August.

It was planned by JD(U)'s youth wing president Abhay Kushwaha but the meeting was cancelled at last minute due to 'some developments'.

Upendra Kushwaha camp asserts that handwritten notes of Kushwaha leaders, who attended earlier caste congregations, spoke about feeling of betrayal by the present dispensation hinting possible realignment with the RLSP. It did not go down well with Nitish and he cancelled the meeting then.

It was perhaps in Nitish’s mind when he rescheduled the meeting on Sunday. He did not shy away from taking a dig at the RLSP leader saying he encouraged many leaders but they were talking in different voice now. Nitish said he enjoyed the full support of the Kushwaha community.

Upendra Kushwaha is considered the leader of Koeri community who have been traditionally voting with Kurmi community due to cultural affinity as they are called twin sons of Lord Rama - Luv (Kurmi) and Kush (Koeri). Even when Upendra Kushwaha parted ways with Nitish in 2013, Nitish was still considered the leader of Luv-Kush vote bank having about 10 percent vote share.

However, Nitish Kumar's return in the NDA changed the political equations and both leaders found themselves on the same side of the political combination.

With speculation gaining ground about seat-sharing among the NDA allies in Bihar, the RLSP has demanded that it should get more seats than the Nitish Kumar-led Janata Dal (United) as it enjoyed more vote-share than the ruling JD(U).
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