BJP May Revisit OBC Sub-categorisation Report
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.