UP polls: BJP's caste calculus dominated by non-Yadav OBC communities decimates SP

The OBC communities, which form a formidable chunk of the voters in UP, emerged as a strong pressure group against the socio-economically strong Yadavs.

Published: 11th March 2022 09:00 PM  |   Last Updated: 11th March 2022 09:00 PM   |  A+A-

Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath addressing the party workers after the victory on Thursday. (Photo | ANI Twitter)

Express News Service

LUCKNOW: The landslide victory of the BJP in UP has once again proved its dexterous caste calculus riding which it has been able to create history by repeating the term in 2022. 

So far, the caste arithmetic of the saffron fold would comprise a powerful voters’ bloc of upper caste amalgamated with non-Yadav OBCs and non-Jatav SCs. It has paid dividends to the BJP election after the election since 2014, but 2022 seems to be a little exceptional. Besides, with the non-OBC voting bloc intact, the reach of the BJP’s caste calculus expanded with the tectonic shift of a respectable chunk of Jatavs to its fold. 

Jatavs have been the traditional core vote of the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), which stands decimated now with just one seat.

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Consequently, this new social coalition has broken all previous records and the BJP has not only been able to win the seats handsomely but also increased its vote share from 39.67 per cent in 2017 to 42.4 per cent in 2022. However, the party also suffered reverses in some pockets where the core Samajwadi Party voter--  Muslim-Yadav--  was a deciding factor.

In the run-up to 2022 assembly polls, almost all parties, including SP, BSP and Congress, looked to consolidate the OBC community in their favour as this bloc accounts for over 40-45% of UP’s population. Not surprisingly, all political parties fielded between 120 and 160 OBC candidates in state elections.

As per the opinion of political analysts, the efforts to woo the other backward castes gained momentum after the BJP was hit by a series of desertions by OBC leaders like Swami Prasad Maurya, Dara Singh Chauhan, and Dharam Singh Saini. They all defected to SP. However, the SP could not draw many benefits from these defections as Swami Prasad Maurya and Dharam Singh Saini lost their respective seats.

The OBC, which forms a formidable chunk of the voting population in UP, emerged as a strong pressure group against the socio-economically strong Yadavs, by consolidating behind BJP in 2017 assembly elections. Around 58 per cent non-Yadav OBCs had voted in favour of the BJP in 2017. This figure went up further in 2022 as around 65 per cent OBCs voted for the BJP despite the last moment hostility shown towards it by the deserters like Maurya, Saini, and Chauhan.

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Even the increased consolidation of non-Yadav OBCs in favour of the BJP resulted in the realignment of caste forces triggered by the palpable aggressiveness among Yadavs ahead and during the electoral battle.

This time, even Akhilesh Yadav also tried to win over non-Yadav OBCs through alliances and induction of backward leaders into SP. In fact, the SP chief also aimed at washing off the tag of being a party dominated solely by Yadavs. However, he failed to draw desired results.

Akhilesh’s move to strike a tie-up with estranged BJP ally SBSP of Om Prakash Rajbhar and also induction of expelled BSP leaders like Ram Achal Rajbhar and Lalji Verma were signs of his recalibrated poll strategy.

The growing political assertion of non-Yadav is acknowledged by the political parties who understand their significance. The growing representation of OBC ministers in the previous Yogi cabinet and the current Modi cabinet is a reflection of their political significance.


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