NEW DELHI: In an attempt to shut the Opposition out of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, the NDA government at the Centre on Wednesday approved constitution of a commission on re-categorisation of backward castes. The strategy to polarise multiple backward castes against the dominant ones in the states has seemingly been incubated in Uttar Pradesh, which has been a saffron hunting ground since 2014 Lok Sabha elections.
Giving an institutional legitimacy to the demands for adequate representation in quota by numerically weaker backward castes who collectively outnumber the dominant castes, the commission is likely to seek classifications on the lines of Extremely Backward Castes (EBCs) and Most Backward Castes (MBCs). The move is clearly aimed to “choke the electoral stranglehold” of Yadavs in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, besides their similar counterparts in other states.
Incidentally, the BJP credits multitude of backward castes throwing their weight behind the party against the domination of numerically strong Yadavs for the electoral success in 2014 and 2017 polls in UP. The saffron outfit has seemingly taken Uttar Pradesh as its laboratory for social engineering by cultivating support base amongst non-Yadav backward castes who hold grievances against the Samajwadi Party led by the Mulayam Singh Yadav clan.
In a determined bid to shed the image of being a party of the upper castes and traders, the BJP had taken closer looks of the social engineering effected by the BSP supremo Mayawati in 2007 UP Assembly elections and Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar in 2005 Bihar state polls. Mayawati had enlarged her electoral constituencies by clubbing Brahmins, Dalits and non-Yadav backward castes to break the glass ceiling to get a massive majority for her party in the state. Kumar, whose caste (Kurmi) is not more than five per cent of the population of Bihar, had carved out Mahadalit by leaving out the dominant Paswan, besides EBCs and MBCs in his social engineering to end the long spell of the rules of the Lalu Prasad clan led RJD in the state.
“The benefits of the reservation in educational institutions and government jobs have mostly gone to the dominant castes. There has been a strong sense of disenchantment amongst a multitude of backward castes who individually aren’t in big numbers, but collectively outnumber their dominant counterparts. Non-Yadav backward castes looked towards the BJP with hope and the party led government at the Centre has sought to do justice to their grievances by constituting the commission,” said a senior BJP functionary.
BJP chief Amit Shah stated that the Cabinet nod to the constitution of the commission is proof of ensuring justice to the legitimate demands of scores of backward castes who have a sense of not getting the benefits.
The BJP had run away to spectacular victory in the 2017 UP Assembly polls by giving more than one-third of party tickets to the non-Yadav leaders. The consolidation of non-Yadav backward castes and upper castes has emerged at the core of the electoral strategy of the BJP, opined a BJP leader.