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Leader of the Opposition in the Bihar Legislative Council and a senior BJP leader Samrat Choudhary has been appointed state’s chief of the party ahead of the 2024 Lok Sabha polls. Choudhary has replaced Dr Sanjay Jaiswal whose term ended in November last year.
Choudhary belongs to Kushwaha (Koeri) caste and has been a popular OBC face of the party for a long time. In order to woo Kushwaha voters, the BJP projected him as a potential leader ahead of both Lok Sabha polls in 2024 and state polls in 2025. Kushwahas constitute roughly 7 per cent of voters in Bihar.
Incidentally, Janata Dal-United (JD-U) state party president Umesh Kushwaha belongs to the same Kushwaha caste. It has been aimed to counter JD-U following the exit of another prominent Kushwaha leader – Upendra Kushwaha from the JD-U fold.
Choudhary, a resident of Lakhanpur village in Tarapur block of Munger district, has served as ministers in the Rabari Devi cabinet as well as with NDA under the leadership of Nitish Kumar. He was briefly associated with the HAM party under the leadership of the former CM Jitan Ram Manjhi.
In 1999, he was made agriculture minister under the Rabari Devi government. Again, he became minister in the Urban Development and Housing Department in 2014 and panchayat Raj minister (2021-22) both under the Nitish Government. In the year 2018 he became the state vice-president of the party.
Choudhary’s father, a veteran politician late Shakuni Choudhary, was a close aide of RJD president Laloo Prasad Yadav.
BJP’s move to appoint Kushwaha as party president in Bihar is seen as an attempt to attract a large number of Luv (Kurmi ) and Kush (Kushwaha) votes. The recent induction of over two dozen Kushwaha leaders in the JDU national and state executive committee is also one of the reasons to appoint Kushwaha as the party chief, said a political observer.
Soon after the announcement of the new state party chief, Samrat Choudhary, while talking to media persons here at the party headquarters said that the BJP will be able to provide good governance in Bihar as the people have already seen the “misrule” of both RJD and JDU in the last 35 years.
Choudhary said: “Main janata ke beech jaaunga.” (I will directly meet the people to know their problems and aspirations).
In recent months, Samrat Chaoudhary has been most vocal in criticising the Chief Minister Nitish Kumar. In fact, the recent verbal duel between the chief minister and Choudhary was witnessed in the Upper House. In the month of February this year, Choudhary, while commenting on CM Nitish, said that he should take rest in his Kalyanbigha ashram (CM’s native village).
His recent sharp comment is still fresh in the minds of people where he said: “Tiger ab budhaa ho gaya hai. Iski Kamaan doosre ke paas hai.” (The tiger has become old now. Somebody else is now ruling it). His comments on deteriorating law and order situation are even more scathing.