THE BACKWARD LEAP
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.