The Uttar Pradesh BJP on Saturday seemed to lack unity on its stand on reservation in promotions for Scheduled Castes/Scheduled Tribes, with senior leader Surya Pratap Shahi asking the central leadership to review its conditional support to the quota bill.
“Shahi has expressed the sentiments of majority of the party leaders,” said a senior BJP leader, adding the party’s new policy on reservation would victimise people belonging to other castes.
The Uttar Pradesh BJP is quite sure that BSP chief Mayawati would take the credit if the bill is passed, irrespective of whether the BJP supported it or not. Thus, they think, the party would hardly gain the Dalit votes, but would lose its base among other castes as well. During BJP national leader Arun Jaitley’s visit to Lucknow, many in the party had expressed their concerns in this regard.
To prove their point, the partymen cited the December 14 demonstration against the quota bill, wherein the protesters attacked the BJP state headquarters, vandalised the office and tore banners and hoardings.
“The very act reflects the agitated mood and anger of the people of the state,” said a party leader, who asked the BJP to review its stand .
The government functioning in Uttar Pradesh is already paralysed with nearly 18 lakh government staff on an indefinite strike since December 13. The strike called by Sarvajan Hitai Sanrakshan Samiti has the indirect support of the ruling Samajwadi Party, which is determined to stall the quota policy.
Apart from votebank woes, the firm stand taken by the SP on reservation issue has also hurt the BJP. “This (quota in promotions) is a very sensitive issue and the party should not rush to any conclusion,” said senior BJP leader Vindhyawasini Kumar.
The BJP has been unsuccessful in reviving its moribund organisation and resurrect it as an effective Opposition in the state. It failed to exploit the public ire against the previous BSP regime. Its performance has remained the same in the present SP rule as well. Lack of a popular leadership was another big issue.
To fill that void, the party cajoled estranged leader Kalyan Singh. But in the wake of controversies at the national level -- corruption charges against national president Nitin Gadkari and infighting among the national leaders among others -- the return of Singh has been put off.