LUCKNOW: The long-winded, seven-phase Uttar Pradesh election is well over the half-way hump with 315 of the state’s 403 seats voting so far. While each party thinks it is cleverer than the rest and claims it will win all but a few throwaway seats, the BJP thinks its optimism is better founded, mainly because it has a war room full of clever people.
“We will win. We will form the government,” says Sunil Bansal, the BJP’s organisational general secretary who has been brought here to execute Amit Shah’s plans. Here are five reasons Bansal thinks
1. Upper caste + non-Yadav OBC + non-Jatav Dalit = Power
Bansal says the BJP’s core strategy in this election has been to target the non-Yadav OBC and non-Jatav Dalit vote to add to its traditional upper caste base. Together, they constitute more than 50 per cent of the state’s population.
2. A Brahmin, Thakur, Backward in each district
Closer to the ground, the BJP worked on district-wise social combinations. In each district, it chose at least one Brahmin, one Thakur, one backward. “It does not leave any scope for discontent among any section of society,” says Sunil Bansal.
3. Finetuning for phases 6 and 7
The sixth and seventh phases of the election will cover areas that have a BC-dominated demographic. So in these upcoming two phases, BJP aims to win over 80 per cent of the backward and 80 per cent of the general vote, says Bansal.
4. SP, BSP fishing outside the off-stump
“In these elections, both SP and BSP have moved away from their traditional vote banks,” says Sunil Bansal, the BJP’s pollmeister. When BSP formed the government in 2007, it played the Dalit-Brahmin-OBC card. This time around, they are banking on Jatavs and Muslims. SP has only the Yadav + Muslim combination. There’s a dearth of non-Yadav BC leaders in the SP and BSP.
5.. Fifteen is better than one
The BJP has always banked on winning the perception war by going for maximum visibility. In the next three phases of the poll, 15-16 of its top leaders will be on the field addressing 35 public rallies a day. Even in the early days, the party held 400 meetings for different sections of society with the PM himself pitching in strongly with his Mann ki baat outreach. SP ke paas kya hai? Ek ladka hai. BSP? Just Bua.
6. BJP ke paas kya hai? Social media hai
Akhilesh has a newbie group of UP ke ladke manning a smallish backroom HQ but the BJP has had a state-of-the-art war room running for months, receiving feedback from party networks on the ground. A battery of social media teams run Facebook pages and thousands of Whatsapp groups and Twitter accounts. “The war room monitors the political situation and reorients strategy accordingly,” says state BJP spokesman Dr Chandramohan.
7. No tokenism, only winnability
To those who point out the absence of Muslims in the BJP candidate list, Sunil Bansal evades a direct reply, turning it it into a ‘winnabilty’ question. “It was the only decisive factor for ticket distribution,” he says.
This time we have a perfect bouquet with each flower representing a caste. It sends out a favourable message.
-- Sunil Bansal, BJP UP strategist