Modi govt's quota move may force SP, BSP to revisit its strategy for Lok Sabha polls

While the BSP, which has been a votary of reservation to economically weaker sections, has welcomed the move, it has cautioned against the intention of the Modi government.

Published: 08th January 2019 01:47 PM  |   Last Updated: 09th January 2019 12:09 AM   |  A+A-

Narendra Modi

PM Narendra Modi (File | PTI)

Express News Service

LUCKNOW: The immediate fallout of the Modi government's quota move could be visible in the upcoming Lok Sabha polls, as, in all probability, it would make caste-driven parties like the Samajwadi Party (SP) and the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) revisit their strategy as they perceive it as the BJP's bid to consolidate its upper caste vote bank.

In Uttar Pradesh, the move is likely to have some impact on the poll calculus of SP and BSP, who have joined hands eyeing the OBC-Dalit-Muslim combo which accounts for around 85 per cent of the voting population.

The quota move has taken BJP's regional opponents off- guard. While the BSP, which has been a votary of reservation to economically weaker sections, has welcomed the move, it has cautioned against the intention of the Modi government.

On the other hand, SP also welcomed the move but demanded a caste census as well.

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"Modi’s move will certainly get the BJP brownie points from the general categories, though it will take a long time in implementation," said a political observer.

Notably, after bringing about an amendment to restore the SC/ST Act, 1989 in its original form after its alleged dilution by the Supreme Court early last year, the BJP had been facing the onslaught from the upper castes across the Hindi heartland and it was evident in the recently-concluded polls in three states.

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Experts feel that the BJP cannot afford to lose its Brahmin and Thakur voters who alone together comprise 15 per cent of the voting population in UP. In all, the upper castes constitute around 21 per cent of UP’s electoral population. Moreover, the bid may also make the minorities go soft on the BJP.

However, a political observer felt that it could be a prelude to the replacement of caste-based reservation in the country by economic criterion.

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