Patna: Bihar's ruling Janata Dal-United (JD-U) has fielded candidates belonging to Chief Minister Nitish Kumar's Kurmi caste in his hometown Nalanda, attracting criticism from the opposition.
The JD-U has fielded five candidates belonging to the Kurmi caste and one of the Koeri caste, considered a natural ally of the Kurmi in Bihar's caste-based politics.
The move is being widely seen as a step to sweep the polls like in the past in Nitish Kumar's home territory of Nalanda, locally known as 'Kurmistan'.
The JD-U released the third list of 11 candidates on Sunday night and came in for criticism from members of the opposition.
"The JD-U has failed to field any Dalit, Muslim or upper caste candidate from Nalanda," Communist Party of India-Marxist CPI-M youth leader Gopal Prasad Sharma told.
Saying that the JD-U was only playing the caste card in Nalanda, Sharma said: "Preaching for development as the poll plank is one thing and practicing it is another. JD-U has exposed itself in Nalanda."
JD-U leader Shayam Rajak, however, denied that caste was a consideration for selection of candidates for the assembly seats in Nalanda.
More than 50 percent of the electorate in Nalanda consists of the Kurmi caste.
Bihar will elect its 243-member assembly in polling in six phases that begins Oct 21 and ends Nov 20. The results will be declared Nov 24.
The move is seen as a step to sweep the polls like in the past in Nitish's home territory.