BJP May Re­visit OBC Sub-cat­e­gori­sa­tion Re­port

The Economic Times - - Pure Politics -

Our Po­lit­i­cal Bureau

New Delhi: The Ut­tar Pradesh gover nment may place the Other Back­ward Classes (OBC) sub-cat­e­gori­sa­tion re­port be­fore the state as­sem­bly in the up­com­ing bud­get ses­sion to sig­nal its in­ten­tion to split the 27% OBC quota in an at­tempt to counter the re­cently an­nounced SPBSP al­liance for the gen­eral elec­tion.

“Im­ple­men­ta­tion of this re­port will be the most solid re­ply to the SP-BSP al­liance. We should do it im­me­di­ately,” UP’s back­ward classes wel­fare min­is­ter Om Prakash Ra­jb­har, who had com­mis­sioned the re­port, told ET.

He said the move was de­scribed to him ear­lier by BJP pres­i­dent Amit Shah as “brah­mas­tra (unas­sail­able weapon)” and that the re­port was with Chief Min­is­ter Yogi Adityanath for more than two months.

“We are in agree­ment in prin­ci­ple with this re­port. This idea is the BJP brain­child since the days of Ra­j­nath Singh as CM. Its po­lit­i­cal im­pact is be­ing as­sessed. The CM has to ap- prove the re­port and then it may be placed be­fore the state as­sem­bly in the up­com­ing ses­sion,” said a se­nior BJP leader, speak­ing on con­di­tion of anonymity.

An­other BJP leader, how­ever, said the re­port poses a dilemma to the party since it can work both ways. It ad­vo­cates split­ting the ex­ist­ing 27% OBC quota three ways – 7% for back­ward, 11% for more back­ward and 9% for most back­ward. It will hurt the Yadavs, who cor­ner most of the OBC quota in the state.

“It will be happy news for non-Ya­dav OBCs who voted for the BJP in a big way in the 2017 as­sem­bly elec­tion and could again con­sol­i­date be­hind the party in the Lok Sabha elec­tion. But it will up­set the Kurmi and Lodh vot­ers who are also the BJP’s strong vote bank,” said the BJP leader.

The BJP’s ally Apna Dal and its MP Anupriya Pa­tel have ob­jected to im­ple­men­ta­tion of the re­port with­out a caste cen­sus be­ing pub­lished first.

The BJP has si­mul­ta­ne­ously be­gun an ex­er­cise to iden­tify SP and BSP ‘rebels’ who may emerge since both par­ties are con­test­ing 38 seats apiece in the 80-seat as­sem­bly. “With past al­le­ga­tions on the BSP from its ex-MPs and MLAs that tick­ets are in­vari­ably sold in the party to the point that many prospec­tive can­di­dates would not get tick­ets from ei­ther party given their seats may fall in the other party’s quota, many prob­lems will emerge in the SP-BSP al­liance when the tick­ets are an­nounced. We are wait­ing to cash in when that hap­pens,” said the BJP leader.

He said the BJP could back many of these rebel can­di­dates to hurt the SP or BSP can­di­dates. In many Mus­lim­dom­i­nated con­stituen­cies, such as Ram­pur or Sa­ha­ran­pur, the BJP is hop­ing the Mus­lim can­di­dates put up by the Congress would split votes and harm the chances of the SP-BSP al­liance.

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