CHANDIGARH: To consolidate its non-Jat votes for ‘Mission-75’, the ruling BJP is eyeing the Other Backward Castes and Scheduled Castes in western and northern Haryana, respectively.
The party has sharpened its caste strategy from establishing community centres for the SCs, Valmiki and Harijans. In election manifesto, it promised collateral-free loans to SC households.
The reason is that in the Lok Sabha elections, the party got more than 70 per cent of the vote share of OBC and Non-Jat upper caste votes.
For Dalit votes, the Haryana government had inaugurated many chaupals (community centres) before the code of conduct came into force. It is just a small part of the BJP’s big strategy as the party won nine out of 17 SC seats in 2014.
“The SC community can hold meetings, weddings or other family functions... Children can play and senior citizens can spend time,’’ said a party functionary.
It is not that chaupals are a new phenomena — such structures began sprouting in 1978 during the tenure of Chaudhary Devi Lal, when he was the Chief Minister.
In fact, Jats, Valmikis, Harijans and Rajputs had their own chaupals The saffron party boasts of a strong force comprising panna pramukhs. Three lakh panna pramukhs are reaching out to 50 families each.
These workers are chosen from the community that is dominant in the area. OBC and Dalits leaders are also pramukhs, said party sources. In addition to Brahmins, Punjabi and Baniya votes, the BJP wants these OBC and Dalit votes to sail through comfortably for which job reservation is a poll bait for the ruling party.