Uttar Pradesh is again moving backwards to surge forward in the next Lok Sabha elections.
All the major four political parties in the state have opted for OBCs/ Dalits as their state heads, giving a clear indication that the focus for the next general elections will be on OBCs and Dalits who form the bigger slice of the voters’ pie.
The BJP set the ball rolling by appointing Bhupendra Chaudhary, a Jat, as its state chief and the Samajwadi Party followed suit by re-appointing Naresh Uttar Patel, a Kurmi by caste, as the state president.
While the BJP has an eye on the Jat votes in western UP, the SP is making an effort to add Kurmis to its Yadav vote base.
The Samajwadi Party’s effort to bring in Kurmi in the recent Assembly elections have proved futile since the community went largely with the BJP and its ally, the Apna Dal.
The Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), on the other hand, has Bhim Rajbhar as its state president. The BSP, apparently, intends to bring the Rajbhar community into its fold.
However, Bhim Rajbhar lacks the identity and stature needed to influence his own community.
Besides, the Suheldev Bhartiya Samaj Party (SBSP) is actively campaigning for itself with a yatra that is touring all Rajbhar dominated constituencies.
The SBSP may or may not earn seats for itself in the Lok Sabha elections but it can certainly damage other players by disturbing the OBC votes.
The Congress, meanwhile, has appointed Brij Lal Khabri, a Dalit as its state president in Uttar Pradesh. The party, according to sources, hopes that Khabri, who has been a BSP loyalist for years, will bring in Dalit votes that will help in the party’s resurrection.
With all parties fixated on OBCs and Dalits, it is now the upper castes — mainly Brahmins — who have been left out in the cold.
“All parties talk of pursuing inclusive politics but they are aggressively following the OBC and Dalit line. The upper caste have almost been excluded from the scheme of things and the situation will ultimately work to BJPs advantage which has a powerful upper caste leader in Yogi Adityanath. Brahmins, in particular, will have to go for the BJP — despite their hostility with Thakurs — because there is no space for them in the SP, BSP and Congress,” said H.M. Siddiqui, a senior political analyst.
It may be recalled that prior to the 2022 Assembly elections, reports of Brahmins being disillusioned with the BJP had been doing the rounds and the BJP leadership had made a conscious effort to assuage the feelings of this community.
“Brahmins continue to remain side-lined in the BJP, but the community has no choice but to go with the BJP because other parties offer no choice for us. Thakurs dominate the upper caste space in the BJP, but other parties do not have even that,” said a senior BJP MLA.