Keeping caste arithmetic in Uttar Pradesh in mind ahead of the Lok Sabha elections 2019, BJP has chalked out a plan to woo the OBC electorate in the politically crucial state. The saffron party wants to tap socialist icon and former Bihar Chief Minister Karpoori Thakur and name one road in each district of the state after him. UP Deputy Chief Minister Keshav Prasad Maurya, who holds the portfolio of the Public Works Department, made an announcement in this regard yesterday.
BJP’s move assumes political significance as it comes at a time when Samajwadi Party (SP), BSP and Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) are busy stitching an electoral understanding. All the three parties have sizeable voter base within OBC community in the state. Coming together of SP, BSP and RLD have further consolidated the OBC voter base and it reflected in the recently-held bypolls. Now, BJP also seeks to garner a favourable mandate from the non-Yadav OBC base. Maurya, who made the announcement, himself belongs to non-Yadav OBC community.
Aiming to reach out to OBC communities, BJP has decide to hold “Samajik Pratinidhi Baithaks” under which 40 meetings will be held in Lucknow. Representatives of OBC communites will attend the meetings. Three meetings have already been held. These meetings started on Tuesday and Thursday’s was the third meeting.
A meeting on Wednesday was attended by leaders of Rajbhar caste. Another meeting of Prajapati community was organised on Tuesday. Maurya made the announcement about renaming the roads in a meeting which was attended by ‘Nai’ community representatives. Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has addressed two meetings.
BJP state general secretary and OBC wing in-charge Vijay Bahadur Pathak said these meetings will also be used to spread the word on the government’s achievements. “These programmes are aimed to attract OBCs support for BJP in the Lok Sabha elections,” BJP’s OBC wing state general secretary Chiranjiv Chaurasiya was quoted as saying by IE.
Why Karpoori Thakur?
Former Bihar Chief Minister Karpoori Thakur, who was known as the Jan Nayak, is considered as the champion of OBC rights. He was also one of the prominent faces of the erstwhile Janata Party. Thalur, who belonged to nai community, had gained tremendous success by mobilising extremely backward classes (EBCs) in Bihar. It is said that incumbent Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has emulated Thakur’s formula to consolidate non-Yadav OBC communities a strong voter base. BJP is also pitching that Congress, SP and BSP, were trying to stop Narendra Modi from becoming Prime Minister again and so OBCs should unite in Modi’s support.
Earlier this year, Adityanath said that “BJP is the real well-wisher of the Dalit community and only in the BJP regime, sons from Dalit and OBC families could become a President and Prime Minister…The other parties are limited to a person or family.”