Modi nomination in Varanasi drops key poll cues for LS elections

PM Narendra Modi at Kal Bhairav Temple in Varanasi

Image credit X @bjp4India

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Four proposers of Modi’s nomination paper hail from key caste groups

By Manish Anand

New Delhi, May 14: Prime Minister Narendra Modi filed his nomination from the Varanasi parliamentary constituency on Tuesday. The filing of nomination by the prime minister was accompanied with usual pomp and show, as well as key signs to keep political pundits busy to decode the ongoing Lok Sabha elections.

Modi once more gave a television interview aboard a small ship on the Ganges. His roadshow was again full of fervour. Religious chants filled the air in Kashi, the ancient city known for being the reservoir of the Hindu scriptures.

Lalchand Kushwaha was among the four proposers of the nomination paper of the prime minister. He is a local shopkeeper. Importantly, his surname reveals his caste. This caste is sweating out the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Bihar, as well as parts of Uttar Pradesh, according to media reports.

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Kushwaha in Bihar is also known as Koeri. It’s also known as a sister caste of Kurmi. Together, the two castes have in the last two decades in Bihar have been the political counterweights to Yadav dominated politics in Bihar and UP.

There are still three phases of elections left in Bihar. The BJP is reportedly facing daunting challenges amid ground reports of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) ally, the Janata Dal (United) losing support among the Kushwaha caste group.

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The BJP’s state unit chief in Samrat Choudhary also hails from the Kushwaha caste. But the BJP gambit to pop him up also appears not yielding desired results as per the Patna-based political observers.

The Bihar Chief Minister, Nitish Kumar, skipped the nomination filing event of the prime minister. The Bihar chief minister cancelled his planned trip to Varanasi to pay homage to his close friend and former state deputy chief minister Sushil Kumar Modi, who passed away on Monday evening at AIIMS in New Delhi.

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But all other leaders of the NDA constituents attended the function of the filing of the nomination paper of the prime minister. This again is being seen as sign of the importance being given to them by the BJP in the Lok Sabha elections.

Modi has given the slogan of ‘abki bar 400 paar’ for the NDA. The BJP is banking on a number of allies in the southern parts of the country to gain grounds.

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Amid a lack of undercurrent unlike the 2019 elections, the political observers stress that the BJP allies may find their significance after the June 4 verdict if the saffron outfit struggles to cross the half-way mark.

Baijnath Patel and Sanjay Sonkar were two other proposers. Patel hails from the other backward caste. Shonkar hails from the Dalit community. Besides the three proposers, Ganeshwar Shastri Dravid also proposed Modi’s nomination paper. He had led the ceremony of the consecration of the Ram Temple in Ayodhya.

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