India Today - - SPECIAL REPORT -

Modi’s cam­paign man­agers are plan­ning to use the OBC card, hop­ing it will reap rich elec­toral div­i­dends in cast­edriven states like Ut­tar Pradesh and Bi­har. Both the states have chief min­is­ters who are from back­ward com­mu­ni­ties. A Ganchi ( Teli) by caste, Modi has al­ways been re­luc­tant to play the OBC card but his han­dlers are of the view that he will gain by the pro­jec­tion, es­pe­cially when it comes to the race for prime min­is­ter­ship. Known more by monikers such as ‘ Hindu Hri­day Sam­rat’ and ‘ Gu­jarat Ka Gau­rav’, party strate­gists be­lieve that play­ing the OBC card will help him as he makes the big leap into national pol­i­tics. It may help the BJP wean away OBC votes from Mayawati’s BSP, Mu­layam Singh Ya­dav’s SP and the Congress.

BJP’s in- house psephol­o­gist GVL Narasimha Rao car­ried out a sur­vey in Ut­tar Pradesh in April- May to ex­plore two sce­nar­ios: If the BJP does not de­clare Modi as a prime min­is­te­rial can­di­date; and sec­ond if it does so. He found that in the first sce­nario, BJP would man­age 19 seats, fin­ish­ing sec­ond, with a 20 per cent vote share. The SP would get a max­i­mum of 28 seats with a 24 per cent vote share. How­ever, with Modi as prime min­is­te­rial can­di­date, BJP would get a 33.9 per cent vote share and a whop­ping 47 seats, a gain of 37 seats over its present tally of 10.

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