The BJP, which is trying to get its electoral arithmetic right in Uttar Pradesh, has decided not to zero in on Yadavs, Jatavs and Muslims and instead focus on the upper castes and other SC and OBC sub-castes which constitute nearly 60 per cent of the vote bank. To woo Dalits and dent the BSP’s core vote bank, the BJP has already promised to build a Buddha statute taller than the ones that once stood in Bamiyan, Afghanistan. Put together, the Yadav-Muslim-Jatav vote bank constitutes nearly 40 per cent, of which Muslims alone make up 18 per cent.
The BJP national executive to be held at Allahabad from June 11 to 13 will also focus on firming up its campaign agenda and mainly target the Gandhi dynasty.To woo the Dalits, the RSS has also intensified its “seva basti” activities in the state wherein people from higher and backward castes share home-cooked food. The Sangh Parivar has also increased other welfare activities, including free health camps in areas dominated by backward and extremely backward communities.
Assam might have given the BJP the fillip it needed after back-to-back electoral drubbings in Bihar and Delhi, but the party is aware that defeats in Punjab and Uttar Pradesh would deliver a blow whose impact could last till the Lok Sabha elections.After making hardcore Hindutva leader and OBC Keshav Pradhan Maurya the BJP’s state unit chief, the party is now going all out to woo SC and OBC sub-castes.
Party spin doctors are against spending time on wooing Yadavs and Jatavs as these two communities generally remain strongly behind the Samajwadi Party and Bahujan Samaj Party. While the Jatavs, comprising over 12 per cent of the vote share, remain firmly with BSP leader Mayawati, the Yadavs (nine per cent vote share) lean towards the SP. That the BJP was banking mainly on backward votes is evident as the majority of district presidents belong to the backward and extremely backward communities.
The sub-castes the BJP is targeting include Pasi, Dhobi, Kori, Balmiki and Khatik among the SCs, and Kurmi, Lodh, Jat, Gujjar, Mallah, Teli, Kumhar, Kahar, Kachi and Gadaria among the OBCs.