In a virtual throwback to the pre-Mandal era of the eighties when the Brahmin votes proved decisive in UP, the major political parties in the state -- the SP and the main Opposition BSP -- are ardently wooing the community in their bid to bag as many number of seats in the forthcoming Lok Sabha elections.
And BSP chief Mayawati has got a headstart in this regard as she has yet again renewed her magical ‘social engineering’ skills with the party’s Brahmin face Satish Mishra’s Brahmin conferences to outdo the SP and the BJP.
The SP,which has been plagued by infighting and ego clashes, is groping in the dark to come up with a few Brahmin leaders to be fielded against the BSP. Not only that, the SP has been accused of marginalising the Brahmin community.
Brahmins constitute nearly 14 per cent of the state’s upper caste population of 28-29 per cent -- the highest in the country. And Brahmin votes play a decisive role in nearly 20 Lok Sabha seats and along with another solid vote bank of the Dalits or the OBCs, it can well affect the poll outcome.
Sensing this, Mayawati has announced the BSP’s intention to field 21 Brahmin candidates in the Parliamentary elections. In the 2007 Assembly polls, she had doled out 89 tickets to Brahmins.
The Brahmins, unlike the other castes, are not confined to a few pockets in the state. And their presence can be seen in areas like judiciary, teaching, administration and religious affairs. They are still seen as opinion-makers in spite of the acute degeneration in their value system.Having reached a saturation point on its own Dalit votes, the BSP, in order to expand its social base to stay at the top, made the first experiment with a unique ‘social engineering’ in 2007.
Initially, the cynics rejected Mayawati’s ‘social engineering’ stating that Brahmins and Dalits have been inimical to each other for ages. However, the BSP’s Brahmin ‘poster boy’ Mishra proved the critics wrong as he powered the party to a historic triumph. But the magic failed to come to the BSP’s rescue in last year’s Assembly elections when it had to contend with a mere 88 seats.
Undeterred by the party’s defeat, Mayawati gave Mishra the freedom and the responsibility to repeat his 2007 performance. And Mayawati is now harbouring ambitions of becoming the first Dalit Prime Minister of the country. If the BSP chief’s dreams were to take flight, the Brahmin vote would become crucial and Mishra would be the pointman for delivering the votes.