The Nitish Kumar-led Janata Dal (United) recently won its battle for its election symbol from the Sharad Yadav-led dissident group. The Election Commission recognised Kumar-led JD (U) as the inheritor of the party’s ‘arrow’ election symbol. The JD (U) has now plans to field over two dozen candidates, particularly in seats dominated by the Patidar community. Rashtriya Janata Dal leader Tejashwi Yadav has said the JD (U) is fielding candidates at the behest of the Bharatiya Janata Party to split Patidar votes, many of whom are supporting the Congress.
Kumar hails from the Kurmi caste in Bihar, and the Kurmi and Patidar communities believe they have the same origins. In Gujarat, Yadav’s faction is led by tribal leader Chhotubhai Vasava. With the Yadav faction losing the ‘arrow’ symbol, Vasava and his colleagues would contest on the ‘autorickshaw’ symbol under the auspices of the Bharatiya Tribal Party.