Ahead of Maha assembly polls, BJP goes back to old Ma-dha-v formula for MLC elections

The five candidates announced by the BJP for the biennial elections of the state council include Pankaja Munde who comes from the Wanjari community that is part of the OBC.
BJP leader Pankaja Munde (File | PTI)
BJP leader Pankaja Munde (File | PTI)

After suffering a blow in the Lok Sabha polls in Maharashtra where its tally fell from 23 seats to nine, the BJP has decided to rebuild its other backward class (OBC) vote bank through the state legislative council’s biennial election scheduled for July 12.

Maharashtra deputy chief minister Devendra Fadnavis earlier said the OBCs make up the DNA of the BJP and they will never hurt them. As part of its social engineering, the Sangh Parivar had developed the Ma-dha-v formula, referring to the Mali, Dhangar and Vanjari, the prominent castes in the OBC community. But in the last few years, these castes got alienated from the BJP due to various reasons and as a result, it performed poorly in the Lok Sabha elections.

The five candidates announced by the BJP for the biennial elections of the state council include Pankaja Munde who comes from the Vanjari community that is part of the OBC. Munde recently lost the Lok Sabha elections against NCP (SP) candidate Bajran Sonawane in a high voltage contest.

Munde earlier also lost the 2019 state assembly election against her cousin Dhananjay Munde who is an NCP minister in the BJP-led Mahayuti government. Despite her second loss, the daughter of late BJP leader Gopinath Munde was nominated to woo the Vanjari community.

The political rehabilitation of Munde is a bid to keep the community with the BJP for the upcoming state assembly elections in October this year.

The BJP also nominated Pairnay Phuke, who comes from Vidarbha and is a Kunbi – an agrarian community. Phuke is a close aide of deputy chief minister Devendra Fadnavis. By nominating Phuke for the elections, the BJP wants to pacify the Kunbi community that is a significant number in the Vidarbha region where the party lost the Lok Sabha election badly.

Another BJP candidate is Amit Ghorakhe from Pimpri Chinchwad who is also close to Fadnavis and belongs to the Matang community that is part of the SCs. In Maharashtra, the Bhaudha Dalits vote for the Congress and NCP (SP), while another significant part of the Dalit community is the Matang, which the BJP wants to bring close to them.

The party also nominated Yoges Tilekar who comes from Pune and belongs to the Mali community, which is another major bloc among the OBCs whose support the BJP is trying hard to regain.

Moreover, the BJP also nominated farmer leader Sadhabhau Koth who belongs to the Maratha community. With Koth's party being an old ally of the BJP, the party wants to give the message that they do take care of their partners.

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The New Indian Express