Karpoori Thakur, fondly known as the ‘Jan Nayak’ of Backward politics in Bihar, is posthumously honored with the Bharat Ratna, underscoring his enduring commitment to championing the marginalized. The award, conferred a day ahead of his birth anniversary, has garnered praise across party lines, affirming Thakur’s legacy as a stalwart of equality.
Karpoori Thakur’s Political Journey: Born in 1924 in Samastipur district, Thakur’s political odyssey began during the Quit India movement. Rising from humble beginnings in the Nai Samaj, he emerged victorious in the 1952 state assembly election as a Socialist Party candidate, challenging the Congress-dominated political landscape. Despite being from a lower caste, Thakur’s leadership qualities earned respect even from the upper castes.
पूर्व मुख्यमंत्री और महान समाजवादी नेता स्व॰ कर्पूरी ठाकुर जी को देश का सर्वोच्च सम्मान ‘भारत रत्न’ दिया जाना हार्दिक प्रसन्नता का विषय है। केंद्र सरकार का यह अच्छा निर्णय है। स्व॰ कर्पूरी ठाकुर जी को उनकी 100वीं जयंती पर दिया जाने वाला यह सर्वोच्च सम्मान दलितों, वंचितों और…
— Nitish Kumar (@NitishKumar) January 23, 2024
His prominence surged in 1967 when Bihar witnessed its first non-Congress government. Thakur, serving as Deputy Chief Minister, notably eliminated English as a compulsory subject in schools, leaving an indelible mark on Bihar’s education system.
Karpoori Thakur’s Impact on Bihar Politics: Thakur’s advocacy for the empowerment of backward classes set the stage for the Mandal Commission recommendations. Mobilizing the backward castes, he secured 26% reservation for them in government services in 1978. This move, replicated nationally in 1990, laid the foundation for Mandal politics in Bihar, reshaping the electoral landscape.
Nitish Kumar’s Adherence to Karpoori’s Legacy: The longest-serving Chief Minister of Bihar, Nitish Kumar, strategically implemented Thakur’s formula to categorize backward classes into Extremely Backward Class (EBC) and Other Backward Class (OBC). Reserving 18% and 12% of government jobs for EBCs and OBCs, respectively, Nitish solidified his position as a leader representing the EBCs, countering Lalu Prasad Yadav’s political stronghold.
In summary, Karpoori Thakur’s influence on Bihar politics reverberates through Nitish Kumar’s continued adherence to his legacy, ensuring the empowerment and representation of backward classes in the state’s political landscape.