Bihar OBC leader Karpoori Thakur gets Bharat Ratna—just in time for Lok Sabha polls?

Thakur’s initiatives laid the groundwork for the implementation of the Mandal Commission recommendations in the 1990s, advocating for reservation for the OBC.

Having faced imprisonment during the Quit India Movement, Thakur enjoyed enduring popularity, consistently winning elections from 1952 onwards, owing to his broad appeal, rooted in a humble lifestyle and steadfast dedication to advancing social justice.

Karpoori Thakur actively championed the rights of marginalised communities throughout his life, including the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes as well as OBCs. His unwavering commitment to social justice and inclusive development stood as a foundational element of his political ideology.

The award seems a timely gesture from the BJP-led government in the context of the recent caste survey held in Bihar, where current chief minister Nitish Kumar of the Janata Dal (United) has pushed for enlargement of reservations for the marginalised people and criticised the central government’s reluctance to undertake a proper nationwide caste census.

Is this the BJP playing a game of oneupmanship? And will it work to sway the anti-incumbent voter banks?

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