The BJP has used the name of the country’s first Deputy Prime Minister Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel the most propaganda and political. When LK Advani became the Union Home Minister, he was called Chhote Sardar. When Narendra Modi became the Prime Minister, he built the world’s tallest statue of Sardar Patel on the banks of Narmada. Just on Saturday, when Union Home Minister Amit Shah went to Hyderabad to participate in the ‘Hyderabad Liberation Day’, he said that Sardar Patel had liberated Hyderabad from the slavery of the Nizam. So, BJP is campaigning but Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar is preparing to do politics by using Sardar Patel’s name in the next Lok Sabha elections.
His party’s national president Rajiv Ranjan Singh alias Lalan Singh has given enough indication that Nitish Kumar will contest the next Lok Sabha election and may contest from Uttar Pradesh. The party is preparing for it from the day Nitish Kumar broke the alliance with the BJP and formed the government with the RJD. According to informed party leaders, Nitish can contest the Lok Sabha elections from Mirzapur or Phulpur seat in eastern Uttar Pradesh. Lalan Singh has admitted that the party workers from both these seats are requested that Nitish Kumar should contest from his place. But it hasn’t been decided yet.
Actually both these seats are Kurmi and Koiri ie non Yadav backward caste majority seats. Nitish Kumar himself comes from the Kurmi caste and has been the champion of Kurmi-Kori and non-Yadav ultra backward caste politics in Bihar. Kurmi is a backward caste with pan-India presence. In Bihar, the number of this caste is close to three percent, but the population of Koiri-Kurmi-Dhanuk together becomes close to 12 percent. Kurmis constitute close to 17 per cent in Jharkhand and are politically influential. In Uttar Pradesh too it is close to 10 percent of the population. Kurmi are called Kunbi in Maharashtra and there is a large population there too. Congress state president Nana Patole comes from this caste. Chhattisgarh also has a sizeable Kurmi population and Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel comes from this caste.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s home state Gujarat also has a large Kurmi (Patel) population and is the strongest caste in the state. Sardar Patel may never have done caste politics but Kurmi society considers him as their icon. In this, if the opposition makes Nitish Kumar its common candidate in 2024, then he will be presented as the second big icon after Sardar Patel. His rallies will be organized across the country with the help of Kurmi federations. The theme of the campaign is that Nitish will do what Sardar Patel could not do. That is, Sardar Patel could not become the Prime Minister but Nitish will become the Prime Minister. This slogan will try to unite this large OBC community.