BJP Banks on Most Backwards to Take it Forward In Meerut Belt
Muzaffarnagar/Shamli/ Meerut: With the Muslims backing either the SP-Congress alliance or BSP and the Jatavs unflinchingly supporting Mayawati, BJP is banking on the Most Backward Castes in UP to add to its traditional vote bank to cross the victory mark.
Jatavs constitute over 50% of the Dalits and in constituencies whereBSPhasfieldedaMuslim candidate, the combination can makeMayawati’spartyinvincible. Most seats in western UP haveahighMuslimpopulation.
The Muslims maintain that SP-Congress alliance is their first choice. However, this narrative changes wherever the alliance candidate is not strong enoughtodefeatBJPcandidate.
WhiletheMuslimshavepolarised against BJP, the Hindus have not done so as was witnessed in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections. The Jat and Gujjar votes are divided between BJP and RLD. Making the battle tough for BJP, RLD has fielded non-Jat candidates in several constituencies, weaning away the backward caste votes from the saffron party.
In this scenario, BJP is bank- ing heavily on the MBCs and the non-Jatav Dalits.
BJP is confident that among the backwards, Saini and Pal will vote for it. While Valmikis, Kashyap, Prajapati, Bhuiyar (weaver) and Dhobi castes among Dalits will back them.
“BSP has fielded 97 Muslims and hence the EBC polarisation will be with us,” BJP leader Swatantra Dev told ET.
The 2013 riots still rankle the Muslim voters. Locals in Muzaffarnagar said while the rural areas have cooled downthe Muslim labourers are back and working in the sugarcane fields - there have been clashes off and on in the city.
“Inmanycases,thepanchayats have prevented the situation from becoming communal. But when it comes to voting, MuslimsareagainstBJP,”Bablu Khatik, a local youth, said.
The BJP cadre in west UP concedes that RLD will play a spoiler even if it does not manage to win many seats.“RLD will divide Jat votes, unlike in 2014,” a local BJP leader said.
Moreover, the massive support that BJP enjoyed in the 2014 elections is definitely missing.“TheModiwaveisnotwhat it was in 2014. That was a different euphoria,” a senior BJP leader said.