Battle for UP: BJP adopts multi-pronged strategy to woo OBCs & SCs
Gearing up for the Uttar Pradesh assembly polls next year, the BJP has adopted a multi-pronged strategy of wooing OBCs and SCs by holding caste-specific rallies and forming teams of party workers to reach out to voters on all minority-dominated booths, party leaders said on Sunday.
Keeping in mind the caste dynamics of the politically crucial state as it is the largest in terms of Lok Sabha seats, the BJP's central leadership has already announced a team of poll-incharges comprising leaders from all castes led by experienced poll manager Dharmendra Pradhan, who himself hails from the OBC category.
The BJP plans to hold a three-phase outreach programme among various castes of OBCs, the party's state OBC unit head Narendra Kumar Kashyap told PTI.
"In the first phase, the party will hold 20 'Samajik Samelans' (social seminars) of various sub-categories within OBCs which will be addressed by several leaders, including Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, his deputy Keshav Prasad Maurya and Union ministers Pradhan and Bhupender Yadav," Kashyap said.
These programmes will be of different castes such as Kashyap, Rajbhar, Pal, Prajapati, Jogi, Teli, Yadav, Gujjar, Saini, Chaurasia and Kurmi, he said, adding that a 'sammelan' of Jaats will also be organised.
Jaats, who are mainly farmers do not come under the OBC category in UP. The BJP is trying to win back this crucial votebank which has a significant presence in western Uttar Pradesh, the epicentre of farmers' protest in the state.
It will be followed by an outreach programme under which BJP workers will meet prominent OBC personalities and caste leaders and will update them about the developmental work done by the party, Kashyap said.
"In the last phase, the party will organise 202 OBC rallies, a rally each in two assembly constituencies. These rallies again will be of one sub-caste and they will be addressed mainly by the party leader from that caste," Kashyap said.
Similarly, the party's SC morcha is also exploring the idea of holding 'Ansuchit Jati Sammelans' (seminars of Schedule Castes) in 75 districts across the state, sources in the party said.
The party's state unit will also hold a special facilitation ceremony for newly appointed BJP vice-president Baby Rani Maurya across several places in the state.
Rani Maurya, who hails from Agra, recently resigned as Uttarakhand governor. She belongs to the Jatav community and is expected to contest upcoming assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh.
Similarly, in its bid to secure minority votes, the BJP's Minority Morcha unit of UP has plans to build a team of workers on Muslim booths across the state.
"The minority morcha is in the process of building 21-member teams of its booth workers on all minority-dominated booths and is aiming for 20 per cent of the Muslim votes," BJP's minority cell UP unit head Kunwar Basit Ali told PTI.
Ali said even if each booth worker is able to manage 10 votes, the party will be able to reach its target of 20 per cent minority votes. He said the party's workers will be stationed in all localities with Muslim-dominated booths at designated places on the day of polling.
When contacted, BJP's state vice-president Vijay Bahadur Pathak said the party is in election mode and all its frontal organisations have been instructed to reach out to people and spread word about the developmental work done by both governments at the Centre and in the state.
The BJP has outdone its rivals in three consecutive polls -- the 2014 general elections, 2017 Uttar Pradesh elections and 2019 Lok Sabha polls.
Politically observers are of the opinion that the party has carved a place for itself and it holds sway over non-Yadav OBCs and non-Jatav Dalits. These two sub-castes are traditionally the supporters of SP and BSP, respectively.