BJP reaching out to caste groups in Uttar Pradesh

AM Jigeesh Varanasi | Updated on May 05, 2014

The BJP believes if it is able to win a big section of the most backward votes, itwill be easy for it to fight a triangular election.

Hopes adding backward class votes will erode BSP’s support base

The BJP seems to have taken a leaf out of the BSP’s book in Uttar Pradesh. Like the BSP, the BJP too is trying to woo various caste groups, particularly those belonging to the backward classes.

The only difference is that the BJP is using a pinch of communal flavour to put it all together in the politically critical State.

Assuming support from upper caste voters, the BJP wants to add a clutch of of other caste groups to get the winning combination. It has particularly invested in OBCs besides the Yadavs in this election.

The party feels a number of most backward and extremely backward groups are flocking towards the BJP due to the Modi wave. “We are getting the support of the Kushwahas, Kashyaps, Nishads and Koeris. Our efforts to win the votes of Prajapatis, Sainis, Rajbhars and Lohars have also been successful,” said a senior leader of the party in eastern Uttar Pradesh, who did not want to be quoted.

The party has approached several small parties such as the Apna Dal, which has considerable influence among the Kurmis (Patels), and a number of local caste satraps in different regions. Its candidate list also featured the names of people from most backward and extremely backward regions.

“The aim is to give a challenge to the BSP,” said a professor at the Banaras Hindu University.

“Many of these caste groups have been supporting the BSP. It is not clear whether the support of these communities is candidate-specific or for the State as a whole. However, the BJP will get the votes of Kushwahas, Rajbhars, Koeris and Kurmis wherever they have fielded a candidate from these communities.”

BJP candidates Harinarayan Rajbhar in Ghosi, Ravindra Kushwaha in Salempur and Ramcharita Nishad in Machlishahar, all belonging to different caste sub-groups, are expected to put up a good fight against the SP and the BSP.

This is good news for the BJP because traditionally it has not been strong in these seats.

“The BJP has never won Salempur seat. But now we are way ahead of our opponents. We are getting good response from the backward caste groups,” said Jainath Kushwaha, BJP activist and brother of Ravindra Kushwaha.

The BJP backroom managers believe that if they are able to win a big section of the most backward votes, it will be easy for them to fight a triangular election.

“The upper caste voters are already with us. They will not go anywhere. We are getting the support of most backward and extremely backward. A section of Dalit voters such as Paswans are helping us. With Narendra Modi leading the battle, we are sure that we will get the votes of at least 25 per cent Yadavs on voting day,” said Markandey Sahi, a BJP leader in Deoria.

The party is ensuring that Modi visits constituencies where they are dependant on MBC votes. The Gujarat CM will visit Deoria on May 10, and attend a rally in Salempur on May 6. “The fact that Modi belongs to a backward community is helping us to consolidate our base among them,” another BJP leader said.

Published on May 05, 2014

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