Nitish. No, Make That BJP: ‘Son of Mallah’ Casts New Vote in Bihar

DoThe Best
By DoThe Best October 6, 2015 12:22

Nitish. No, Make That BJP: ‘Son of Mallah’ Casts New Vote in Bihar

Mukesh Sahni – a Bollywood producer-turned-politician who calls himself the “Son of Mallah (boatman)” – has now picked the BJP for the Bihar assembly elections. Full page ads in local newspapers today explained why.

“Aage badi ladai hai, NDA main bhalai hai (there is a big fight ahead and NDA is the best bet),” said the advertisements, dominated by a huge picture of 34-year-old Mr Sahni.

“The people of Bihar will give a befitting reply to both Lalu Yadav and Nitish Kumar in the assembly elections,” Mr Sahni had declared recently, effecting what would count among the fastest political turnarounds recorded recently.

Just 20 days ago, Mukesh Sahni had pledged his support to the rival camp led by Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar. For supporting a long-standing demand for Scheduled Tribe status and promising greater political representation for the Nishad community, he had said.

Mukesh Sahni has been wooed by the rival alliances led by Nitish Kumar and the BJP ever since he crashed into Bihar politics earlier this year and appointed himself the leader of the Nishads – a collective identity for more than 20 sub-castes, including Mallahs, whose livelihood was traditionally linked to the river.

The Nishads, who make up about 10 per cent of what is called the extremely backward castes or EBC, are seen as an important votebank in Bihar, where elections will be held in five phases starting Monday next.

The Mallahs are about five per cent of Bihar’s population.

Spoilt for choice, Mr Sahni has not tried to be discreet as he has evaluated who to support. He had earlier said the Nishads were “disillusioned” with the BJP, but he had met the party’s chief Amit Shah, to “leverage the best deal for his community”, he said.

Mr Sahni, who belongs to a Mallah family in Darbhanga, left for Mumbai and at 18 established an event management company. He also produced a film.

DoThe Best
By DoThe Best October 6, 2015 12:22
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