With its social engineering of bringing together Dalits and upper castes facing heat from a resurgent BJP, the BSP has put its focus on 17 reserved constituencies of UP, where the largest chunk of party’s core base — Dalits — are concentrated.
According to the list of candidates declared by chief Mayawati Thursday, the party has decided to field candidates belonging to Chamar-Jatav Dalit sub-caste on 10 seats, most of them in western UP. Candidates from Pasi sub-caste have been selected on six seats and one candidate is from Kashyap community.
In 2009 Lok Sabha polls, the BSP had fielded 13 candidates from Chamar-Jatav sub-caste, which is also Mayawati’s caste, and four Pasis on SC seats. The increase in the Pasi candidates is an attempt by the BSP to increase its vote share.
The BSP could win only two reserved seats — Lalganj and Misrikh — in the last LS polls. While the SP, which had fielded all candidates from non-Chamar SCs like Pasi, Dhobi, Kori and Valmiki, won 10 reserved seats as it could add its OBC and Muslim support to candidates’ Dalit supporters, two seats each went to the Congress and the BJP while one was won by the RLD.
The party which has placed most of its electoral prospects on its Dalit-Muslim and Dalit-Brahmin combination, has tried to woo Muslim and Brahmin voters at reserved seats. Party’s Brahmin face Satish Chandra Misra has held public meetings in each of these constituencies and even visited some of them twice in order to attract the Brahmins vote for BSP candidates in these seats. Party’s Muslim face Naseemuddin Siddiqui has also held his public meetings in all these reserved constituencies. BSP MLC Athar Khan, who is overseeing the campaign of party in these reserved seats, said their main focus is at attracting the non-Dalit communities in these seats.
The party is pinning its hopes on two factors. One that the Congress, which often ate into the party’s Dalit votes, appears weak. And the other that BJP, which like the SP has also fielded candidates from non-Chamar SCs, will cut into the latter’s votes.