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No Sushil Modi in RS: why the BJP's Bihar face wants to stay in Patna

Panini Anand | Updated on: 10 February 2017, 1:50 IST

It has come as a surprise for many that the Bharatiya Janata Party's face in Bihar, Sushil Kumar Modi, is not being sent to the Rajya Sabha.

These people also believe that it would be a surprise for Modi himself, but sources say that's not the case.

"He is not surprised, because things are going the way he wanted them to," a party source told Catch.

And there are plenty of reasons why Modi wants to stick to the state and not go to the Rajya Sabha.

The man being elevated instead

Modi, the former Deputy Chief Minister of Bihar, was being considered for Rajya Sabha membership by the party after its defeat in the state Assembly polls last year. Many even went to the extent of congratulating him in advance. But the list finalised by the party has no mention of him.

Instead, senior leader and former state BJP president Gopal Narayan Singh has been picked to be sent to the upper house. He is one of the top Rajput faces in the Bihar BJP.

Former state BJP president Gopal Narayan Singh, a Rajput face, has been elevated to the Rajya Sabha

Dropping Modi's name from the list is being interpreted as a case of 'no punishment, but no reward either', for the poll defeat.

Another theory is that the BJP has projected a Thakur face to influence the Rajput voters in the neighbouring eastern Uttar Pradesh, which goes to the polls in a few months.

But a party source rebutted this claim, saying: "There are already two Rajput faces in 'Poorvanchal' - Rajnath Singh and Yogi Adityanath. Both are MPs and tall leaders from the state. Why the BJP will bring one more Rajput for this reason, and that too, from a neighbouring state?"

Lead role in Patna

Highly-placed sources say Modi's own wish was to remain in the state, rather than going for a 'personal gain' like a Rajya Sabha seat.

"He has multiple reasons to refuse the seat," says a source. "If he goes to the Rajya Sabha, he would go from being the leader of the party in the state to fighting for survival amongst the party's big faces in the capital."

Since Nitish Kumar was sworn in, Modi has been acting as the main face of the Opposition in Bihar

For the last seven months since Nitish Kumar was sworn-in for his third term in office, Modi has been as the main face of the Opposition in Bihar.

He has been protesting against the state government, and raising issues in the media prominently. He has no interest in losing that position. He has very few enemies in the state; even the CM is his friend. No wonder, then, that he's happier in Patna than he would be in Delhi.

The Rajendra Singh factor

Another factor on Modi's mind was Rajendra Singh, a Rajput leader who has deep roots within the RSS and was parachuted into the state during the Assembly elections.

Singh had contested from Dinara Assembly seat in Rohtas district, and was touted as a dark horse for the Chief Minister's chair, if the party had won the elections.

Though he lost the polls, Singh remains a threat in Modi's eyes, and it's important for him to keep Singh cornered. Now, with another Rajput face from the state being sent to the Rajya Sabha, the possibilities of Singh rising to take control of the party have been reduced.

It is expected that an organisational reshuffle now would give an opportunity to a Brahmin or Bhumihar leader, in order to keep the caste balance intact within the organisation.

Edited by Shreyas Sharma

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First published: 30 May 2016, 10:09 IST
Panini Anand @paninianand

Senior Assistant Editor at Catch, Panini is a poet, singer, cook, painter, commentator, traveller and photographer who has worked as reporter, producer and editor for organizations including BBC, Outlook and Rajya Sabha TV. An IIMC-New Delhi alumni who comes from Rae Bareli of UP, Panini is fond of the Ghats of Varanasi, Hindustani classical music, Awadhi biryani, Bob Marley and Pink Floyd, political talks and heritage walks. He has closely observed the mainstream national political parties, the Hindi belt politics along with many mass movements and campaigns in last two decades. He has experimented with many mass mediums: theatre, street plays and slum-based tabloids, wallpapers to online, TV, radio, photography and print.