Samrat Chaudhary is new Bihar BJP chief
Samrat Chaudhary replaces Sanjay Jaiswal, whose three-year tenure ended in September last year but was asked to continue.
A year ahead of Lok Sabha polls, BJP national president J P Nadda on Thursday appointed Samrat Chaudhary, the leader of opposition in Bihar Legislative Council, as the party’s new state unit president.
An announcement to this effect was made on Thursday.
Chaudhary replaces Sanjay Jaiswal, whose three-year tenure ended in September last year but was asked to continue.
“We are committed to form the first BJP government in state and win all the 40 Lok Sabha seats from Bihar in 2024,” Chaudhary said after his appointment.
The MLC, a vocal critic of chief minister Nitish Kumar, sports a saffron turban and has vowed not to remove it till the mahagathbandhan government in the state is dislodged. “People of Bihar are fed up with Nitish Kumar and he has become a non-entity in Bihar’s politics. The way he has cheated the people of Bihar, voters will teach him a lesson,” he said.
A Koeri (Kushwaha) by caste, 54-year-old Chaudhary belongs to an influential political family of Bihar. His father Shakuni Chaudhary has been an MLA several times and MP once from Khagaria, besides being a founding member of the Samata Party, to which Nitish Kumar originally belonged. His mother Parvati Devi has also represented Tarpur assembly seat.
Talking to reporters, the BJP leader conceded that by placing bets on him, the BJP has sought to make a dent in the “Luv-Kush” base of the Bihar chief minister.
“The BJP cares for all. But, of course, where else would Luv Kush go except the place where Lord Rama abides,” he said, referring to the “Kurmi-Koeri” combine, known in Bihar politics by the name of Lord Ram’s mythical twins from epic Ramayana.
Incidentally, Chaudhary had joined BJP barely six years ago, previously having been associated with both Lalu Prasad’s RJD and Nitish Kumar’s JD(U).
His two terms in the Bihar Assembly from Parbatta, in 2000 and 2010, were on RJD tickets and he was also a minister in the Rabri Devi government from 2000 till she was voted out of power.
His political career began in 1999 with a controversial ministerial stint, when he was not a member of either house of the state legislature, and which came to an abrupt end with the then Governor Suraj Bhan ordering his dismissal on the ground of his being “under-age”.
In 2014, after Nitish Kumar stepped down as the chief minister taking moral responsibility for the JD(U)’s debacle in Lok Sabha polls, Chaudhary quit the RJD and joined the Jitan Ram Manjhi ministry.
By 2017, he joined the BJP, which ended up realigning with Nitish Kumar shortly afterwards.
Koeris, or the Kushwahas, form 7-8% of Bihar’s population.
Chaudhary, who had also served as a panchayati raj minister during the last NDA government headed by Nitish Kumar, however, denies his appointment has anything to do with the Kushwaha voters. “BJP believes in sabka saath sabka vikash,” he said.
Meanwhile, JD-U state president Umesh Kushwaha called it BJP’s internal matter but ruled out any split in Luv-Kush equation. “The equation is solidly behind Nitish Kumar,” he said.