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Explained: How Muslim-Yadav factor will play out for Nitish Kumar in Bihar polls

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Patna, Oct 19: Even as the politicians chant 'development' mantra, the caste factor, however, has always played a decisive role in electoral politics of Bihar, influencing the outcome of the polls.

Be it the structure of a political party, distribution of tickets or for that matter composition of council of ministers, caste considerations hold sway. And, this theory has made the Muslim-Yadav (MY) equation very relevant in Bihar.

Explained: How Muslim-Yadav factor will play out for Nitish Kumar in Bihar polls

According to the Election Commission data, 16 per cent of Bihar voters are Yadav and 17 per cent are Muslim.

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These two communities dominate 110 seats in Bihar and hence, the JD-U has given 19 seats to Yadav candidates and 11 to Muslims in the 2020 Assembly poll.

This has sent out a clear message from the party headed by Chief Minister Nitish Kumar that it will continue to protect the interests of the minority community and they have nothing to fear despite its realignment with the new and aggressive BJP.

Under the seat-sharing arrangement of the NDA, the JD (U) has got 122 out of the total 243 constituencies in the state and it will be contesting 115, leaving aside seven for ex-chief minister Jitan Ram Manjhi's Hindustani Awam Morcha (HAM) which has returned to the NDA.

Under the seat-sharing arrangement of the NDA, the JD (U) has got 122 out of the total 243 constituencies in the state and it will be contesting 115, leaving aside seven for ex-chief minister Jitan Ram Manjhi's Hindustani Awam Morcha (HAM) which has returned to the NDA.

In the 2015 Assembly polls, which the JD(U) had contested in alliance with the RJD and the Congress, five of the party's candidates had emerged victorious.

Four of them are again in the fray from their respective seats Khurshid alias Firoz Ahmed (Sikta), Sharfuddin (Sheohar), Naushad Alam (Thakurganj) and Mujahid, Alam (Kochadhaman).

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The JD(U) has, despite its alliance with the BJP, succeeded in winning over a section of Muslims by virtue of measures like reservations to the Pasmanda group, scholarships to students from the minority community including those receiving their education at madrasas.

The community has been restive over the party's equivocal stance on the CAA which it ended up voting for in the Parliament.

Nonetheless, the wily chief minister got the BJP to back a resolution passed unanimously by the assembly opposing the proposed NRC.

To woo Muslim voters, Nitish Kumar has been citing his government's initiatives such as scholarships to students in government-affiliated madrasas, promotion of Urdu language, fencing of graveyards, re-opening of the Bhagalpur riots cases.

"My government has done honest service of the Muslim community through concrete measures whereas the opposition parties have done nothing worthwhile but only sought their votes. We believe in the progress of all. We treat Bihar as a family," Kumar says in his election rallies.

Nitish is also hoping to win over the Yadavs with the choice of candidates. Among them is Chandrika Rai, the estranged father-in-law of Lalu's elder son Tej Pratap Yadav.

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    In 2015, as many as 61 Yadav MLAs were elected to the 243-member Bihar assembly, 42 from the RJD and 11 from the JD(U). This meant every fourth MLA in the assembly was a Yadav. Their high numbers were a result of the merger of the RJD-JD(U) votes as Nitish and Lau were part of the grand alliance then with the Congress.

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