By Shashi Bhushan
To consolidate its presence among the Other Backward Castes (OBC), which play a decisive role in Uttar Pradesh, the BJP is banking on over a dozen initiatives which also include inducting 27 ministers from the community in the Union cabinet. And to tell the people about these measures, the Uttar Pradesh OBC Morcha is launching a series of programmes from next month from Ayodhya.
The focus for such a huge campaign is to win support of all, non-Yadav, small or big OBC castes in next year’s Uttar Pradesh Assembly polls. The OBC constitutes over 50 per cent of the total electorate of Uttar Pradesh. While the non-Yadav OBCs constitute around 35 per cent of the state’s total electorate.
The BJP Uttar Pradesh OBC Morcha has formed over three teams to oversee the organisational works across the state. “We have formed 32 teams at the state level, who will organise work in the six regions and 75 districts of Uttar Pradesh. From Ayodhya on September 2, we are launching an outreach program to tell the people about the BJP’s government welfare initiatives for the backward communities,” Uttar Pradesh BJP OBC Morcha president Narendra Kashyap told IANS.
In these meetings across the state, the BJP OBC Morcha will explain how the other political parties have cheated them and treated them only as vote banks. “During the meeting with the OBC communities, we will explain that it was the Narendra Modi government that gave Constitutional status to the National Commission for Backward Classes, passed the 127th Constitution Amendment that allowed states and union territories to prepare their own list of backward classes, providing quota in medical seats and picking 27 OBC ministers for his government,” Kashyap said.
Another party leader pointed out that the OBCs are an influential and decisive vote bank in Uttar Pradesh and played an important role in the rise of the BJP in recent times.
“OBCs are electorally important in Uttar Pradesh. This time we are also trying to win support of all OBC communities especially of non — Yadav,” a party insider said.
“It is Modi ji who is focused on the weaker and marginalised sections of the society. The so-called champions of OBCs like Mulayam Singh and others did not do anything when they were in power. It was the Modi government that worked for the communities,” Kashyap said.
To address the social engineering ahead of the Assembly polls, in the recent Union cabinet reshuffle seven ministers from Uttar Pradesh were inducted and three of them are from OBC communities.
In a strong message to the communities, Prime Minister Narendra Modi inducted 27 OBC ministers from 20 different castes from key states, including three from Uttar Pradesh. Anupriya Patel of Apna Dal, Pankaj Chaudhary and B.L. Verma of the BJP are from the OBC community from the state. Of the seven newly inducted ministers in the Union cabinet, three are from OBC.
A senior party leader pointed out that the majority of the OBC communities supported the party in the last Assembly polls. Yadav is the largest OBC community followed by Kurmi, Lodh, Pal and Nishad. In 2017, the BJP was able to corner a majority of the non-Yadav backward caste votes.
The Kurmi voters play a decisive role in more than 50 Assembly seats, and seeing its importance, the BJP has appointed Swatantradev Singh, a Kurmi, the party’s state president. Newly inducted Union Minister Patel, MP from Mirzapur, and Chaudhary, MP from Maharajganj (near Gorakhpur), are also from the Kurmi caste.
A party leader said that Verma, from the Lodh community having five per cent vote, has not only been made the Rajya Sabha member but also a Union minister. The Lodhs are considered the biggest supporters of the BJP. Former Chief Minister Kalyan Singh was the biggest and most influential leader from the Lodh community.
(Shashi Bhushan can be reached at [email protected])