Grand Democratic Secular Front in Bihar: All you wanted to know

Upendra Kushwaha (left top), Mayawati (middle top), Devendra Prasad Yadav (right top), Om Prakash Rajbhar (left bottom), Sanjay Singh Chauhan (middle bottom) and Asaduddin Owaisi (right bottom)

The Grand Democratic Secular Front (GDSF), is a coalition of 6 political parties in Bihar formed in the wake of the 2020 Bihar Legislative Assembly election.

GDSF was formed after the merger of the constituents of the United Democratic Secular Alliance and a ‘three-party front’. Earlier, All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) announced an alliance with Samajwadi Janata Dal Democratic (SJDD). Rashtriya Lok Samata Party (RLSP) and Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) declared another alliance ‘three-party front’ for upcoming Bihar election.

Members

The constituents of the new front are – RLSP, AIMIM, BSP, SJDD, Suhaldev Bhartiya Samaj Party, and Jantantrik Party Socialist.

Seat share

It was decided that the RLSP will contest on 104 out of 243 seats of the Bihar Assembly while BSP was to contest on 80 seats. AIMIM and SJDD were given 24 and 25 seats respectively while the minor players like SBSP and JPS were to contest 5-5 seats each.

RLSP

Relying upon its vote base which is Kushwaha caste, RLSP fielded 40% Kushwaha candidates in the elections. The party is headed by Upendra Kushwaha, a former minister in Narendra Modi-led NDA government.

Kushwaha was dismissed from the Janata Dal (United) in 2007 and founded the Rashtriya Samata Party in February 2009.

Kushwaha who pulled the party out of the Rashtriya Janata Dal led Grand Alliance, the extension of the GDSF alliance. Following the new arrangement, RLSP state president Bhudeo Choudhary resigned and joined RJD. This was followed by its national general secretary Madhav Anand resigning from party membership while claiming that the decision for an alternative alliance with minor players was “inconsequential” and could potentially finish RLSP. Subsequently, the new state president of the party, Bharat Bind resigned to join RJD as well.

AIMIM

Asaduddin Owaisi’s AIMIM placed its candidates in Muslim dominated areas of Bihar, mainly Kishanganj, Purnia, Araria, and Katihar districts. There are around 45 minority-dominated Assembly seats in these districts of the Seemanchal region from where RJD and Congress candidates had been winning till the 2014 Lok Sabha elections and 2015 Assembly polls.

AIMIM won Kishanganj Assembly by-poll in 2019, marking the party’s first electoral victory in Bihar. AIMIM’s Qamrul Hoda defeated his nearest rival by more than 10,200 votes.

In the 2015 Assembly elections, the AIMIM contested from six constituencies and in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, AIMIM state president Akhtarul Iman lost narrowly to his Congress rival. Iman’s 2,94,859 votes was impressive given the AIMIM’s newbie status in the state. In April 2019, Maktoob spoke to Aktharul Iman, a firebrand speaker and a potential politician of AIMIM, known in political circles as Owaisi of Bihar. Read the interview here.

BSP

The vote base of the BSP in Bihar comprises prominently the Ravidas among the Dalits, who number about 4% of the state population.

Mayawati’s BSP has influence in seats bordering Uttar Pradesh, mainly in Buxar, Rohtas and Kaimur districts.

BSP had won 6 seats in the February 2005 Assembly elections and 4 in the October 2005 polls in Bihar.

Earlier this month, BSP state president Bharat Bind resigned from party and joined RJD. Bind is contesting from Bhabhua seat.

SJDD

Former union minister Devendra Prasad Yadav’s SJDD was formed in 2010 after Yadav leaving RJD.

Yadav was an MP from Jhanjharpur from 1989 to 1998 and from 1999 to 2009. He was Union Cabinet Minister for Food, Civil Supplies, Consumer Affairs, and Public Distribution with an additional charge of Commerce in June 1996 in Deve Gowda ministry and Gujral ministry.

SBSP

The Suheldev Bharatiya Samaj Party, founded in 2002, is led by Om Prakash Rajbhar, ex-minister of Backward Classes Welfare, Disabled People development in Uttar Pradesh.

The party contested the February 2005 Bihar Legislative Assembly election with three candidates and they obtained 13,655 votes (0.06% of the statewide vote).

JPS

Janatantrik Party (Socialist), a party based in Uttar Pradesh where it has a marginal presence. The party is headed by Sanjay Singh Chauhan.

Chief Ministerial candidate

60-year-old Upendra Kushwaha is the chief ministerial candidate of the alliance.

Convenor

GDSF convenor will be former union minister Devendra Prasad Yadav