Surprised no Kayastha minister in Bihar: BJP MP
Even as Prime Minister Narendra Modi pushes for an end to caste-based politics, an upper caste BJP MP on Monday expressed shock over the party decision to "ignore" his Kayastha community by not inducting any legislator from it in the Nitish Kumar cabinet.
"It is a matter of sadness and surprise that not a single Kayastha has been inducted in the newly formed government. I will meet BJP President Amit Shah to draw his attention to it," Ravindra Kishore Sinha, a Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Rajya Sabha member from Bihar, said here.
Sinha, who has an RSS background, said members of the Kayastha community have been loyal to the BJP since 1977, voting for the party election after election, but have been ignored. He said there is a local saying that if the BJP is sure of support from a community, apart from the traders, it is the Kayasthas.
The BJP MP said there are suitable, educated and experienced BJP MLAs from the Kayastha community but they were deliberately ignored. "It's not good."
Sinha runs SIS (Security and Intelligence Services India Ltd), one of the biggest private security agencies in the country. He has assets worth Rs 564 crore and his wife's assets are Rs 230 crore, according to his nomination papers filed in 2014.
Interestingly, the caste factor has surfaced in BJP's Bihar unit after the formation of the new government.
Contrary to Modi's stand against caste-based politics, the BJP has given more space to three powerful upper castes -- Bhumihars, Rajputs and Brahmins -- by inducting over half a dozen MLAs from these communities in the cabinet.
Union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, who is also the face of the BJP on television channels and is known for his communication skills and legal expertise, belongs to the Kayastha community.
Another popular BJP leader from the community is Satrughan Sinha, known as Bihari Babu. He is an MP from Patna Sahib constituency.
According to BJP leaders here, upper castes have been the traditional voters of the party in Bihar. "BJP is sure of its traditional base of upper castes who have remained intact in Bihar since mid-1990s till today," said a leader, requesting anonymity.
But the party may face trouble in the coming days since the two allies of the BJP-led NDA -- Rashtriya Lok Samta Party of Union Minister Upender Kushwaha and Hindustani Awam Morcha of former Chief Minister Jitan Ram Manjhi -- are unhappy as Nitish Kumar has reportedly refused to induct ministers from these parties.
On Wednesday, Nitish Kumar resigned as Chief Minister, dumping Grand Alliance partners Rashtriya Janata Dal and the Congress.
He again took oath as Chief Minister with the support of the National Democratic Alliance on Thursday, while senior BJP leader Sushil Kumar Modi took oath as Deputy Chief Minister.
Nitish Kumar then expanded his cabinet, inducting 27 ministers -- 14 from his Janata Dal (United) and 13 from the NDA -- after winning the trust vote on Friday.