To fight SP-BSP, BJP set to ‘caste’ its net wide in Uttar Pradesh

Sources say BJP has split the state into four zones and entrusted key leaders with the task of translating the strategy to action by hand-picking caste leaders from each parliamentary constituency.

Published: 20th January 2019 05:26 AM  |   Last Updated: 20th January 2019 08:31 AM   |  A+A-

BJP flags

Image of BJP flags used for representational purpose (File | EPS)

NEW DELHI: Taking a cue from the Congress’ overwhelming hold over numerous castes before the advent of regional parties, the BJP has set in place a massive exercise for consolidation of the 55 per cent caste votes in crucial Uttar Pradesh. The party’s aim is to beat the combined might of the Samajwadi Party (SP) and the Bahujan Samajwadi Party (BSP).

The BJP is factoring in the social constituents of the Yadav (12 per cent), Jatav (15 per cent) and Muslim (18 per cent) communities, which together account for 45 per cent of the total electoral base in the state, largely expected to flock to the SP-BSP alliance.

“Even while the 45 per cent social base is not foolproof for the SP-BSP alliance, the BJP’s task is cut out to cement the remaining 55 per cent vote base. The party will be banking on promotion of leaders from these castes prominently in the run-up to the general elections to beat the arithmetic of the Opposition alliance,” said a senior BJP functionary.

Sources said the BJP has split the state into four zones and entrusted key leaders with the task of translating the strategy to action by hand-picking caste leaders from each parliamentary constituency.

“The backward castes constitute 39 per cent of the total vote base in the state, which includes 12 per cent Yadavs, who are traditionally seen as the core social base of the SP. Non- Yadav backward castes (27 per cent) are fragmented, individually not electorally influential, but collectively, they could turn out to be a block that could make a significant impact on the outcome of the elections. The BJP has to pinpoint community leaders and give them positions of significance to engineer their consolidation,” said another BJP functionary. Pinning its hope on the 10 per cent quota unveiled by the Centre, the BJP is counting on 18 per cent upper castes to vote against the SP-BSP alliance.

The BJP also plans to singularly focus on non-Jatav Dalit vote base to expand the social base of the saffron outfit in line with party chief Amit Shah’s ambition to raise the party’s vote share in the state to 51 per cent and repeat the 2014 Lok Sabha poll feat, when the saffron outfit swept the state. “Non-Jatav Dalits have long nursed grievances against the BSP chief for ignoring their political aspirations. The BJP has to work on leaders from such politically disadvantaged non- Jatavs suitable platforms to assert their influence,” added the BJP functionary.

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