A Test for BJP’s Plan to Woo MBCs Party eyeing non-Yadav OBC and non-Jatav Dalits voters to counter rivals SP & BSP
New Delhi: BJP’s electoral strategy to form a rainbow coalition of small groups within backward community will be first put to the test in West UP’s 15 districts, which are covered under the first phase of the UP assembly polls on February 11. These 15 districts have considerable population of the small groups within backwards, who are also referred to as Most Backward Castes . BJP has been eyeing the non-Yadav OBC voters as well as non-Jatav Dalits voters in its attempt to counter it’s both rivals- SP and BSP. Yadavs and Jatavs are considered to be base votes of SP and BSP respectively. If BJP’s strategy for mobilising MBC voters in its favour works, it may help the party compensate for its possible loss of Jat voters and thus stay in race with SP-Congress alliance and BSP in this region. Unlike the 2014 Lok Sabha polls, there are signs of disenchantment among the Jat voters with the BJP. Reports said BJP has been burning the midnight oil to correct its support base among the Jats. Although the MBC voters, who constitute a large number in the OBC block continue to lack their own political patronage, they mat- ter for all the three major political players- BJP, SP-Congress alliance, and BSP. Both the camps- SP and BSP tasted success by bagging the MBC votes in the past assembly polls. BJP has made a fresh attempt to woo the MBC voters in this election by bringing the defectors from BSP in its camps. Swami Prasad Maurya, Dara Singh Chauhan and Dr Dharam Singh Saini, who left BSP and joined the BJP, are good examples of BJP’s MBC faces. SP Singh Baghel, who was in BSP and SP in the past, is now with the BJP.
Early indications suggest willingness among most of the MBCs to go with BJP in different constituencies of the 15 district, which would go to poll on February 11. What manifests BJP’s special focus on MBC votes is good representation given to this group in its candidates’ list. While BJP selected about180 candidates from the upper castes, it has fielded 120-plus faces from such backward castes. Kurmi, Maurya-Kushwaha-Shakya-Saini, Lodh and Nishad-BindKashyap castes have got their good share in the BJP list.
If BJP’s strategy works it may help the party compensate for its possible loss of Jat voters