Youths are neither visible in the dalit hamlets of Amethi, Aropur,Aurail, Mohda, Shahzadpur or Jethian nor is there any sign of activity in the villages though hardly a week is left for the polls. The scene is the same in the Mushar-dominated Karzani, Gandhi nagar, Vansibigha, Bara Pathora and Nawadih areas.
Villager Mr. Sari Manjhi explains youths are not at homes. They have left in September itself to work at brick kilns in Uttar Pradesh, Punjab and Maharastra. Here lies the challenge for Mr. Nitish Kumar’s party which had pinned great hopes on its social engineering formulae after constituting separate commissions for the extremely backward castes [EBC] and Mahadalits and announcing benefits for them. The move, NDA supporters claim, has ruptured the OBC and Dalit vote bases of Mr. Lalu Prasad’s RJD and Mr. RamVilas Paswan’s LJP.
Though Mr. Kumar’s party has been able to create a good-will among Mahadalits which represent a medley group of odd 20 castes from which the scheduled caste[SC] category, the goodwill is unlikely to come to the party’s rescue as youths who could have voted are not in their villages. And as such ,social engineering formula of Mr. Nitish Kumar faces an acid test as the assembly elections enter the cauldron of caste politics in south Bihar in its fifth phase. AS many as 15 of the 35 seats that go to polls in this phase fall in Magadh region the laboratory of ultra Left movements which has recorded internecine caste wars and led to divisions even in the naxal movement on caste lines. NDA may not be able to retain its pre-election status as indications are coming so far. Congress and RJD-LJP combination may gain and win this seat,