Today, I commuted in an autorickshawto my office. I saw NarendraModi’s picture in that vehicle. Looking at the poster, I thought that the driver must be a big fan of the Gujarat CM. I asked him, whom will you vote for? Tiwari, the three wheeler driver started discussing about UP politics, I was really amazed with his analysis. He said, after AtalBihariVajpayeeji, this is first time that UP Brahmins and Thakurs both are favouringBJP’sprime ministrial candidate. Most of the rickshawwallas who belong to UP and Bihar have planned to book their ticket to their native place in April and May to go and vote for Modi. Earlier, they were least bothered to cast their votes.
If the outcome of the freshly concluded state assembly elections and the crowd-pulling penetration of the BJP’s prime ministerial candidate NarendraModi are any sign, the forthcoming LokSabha polls may once again see socio-political manipulations. Brahmins have always been important in UP politics, because of statistical strength in at least 20 LokSabha seats and they held important positions in society. It is not an exaggeration to say that the road to power in Delhi passes through Uttar Pradesh (UP). After all, the state accounts for 80 of the 543 seats which make up the LokSabha- the most powerful institution in world’s biggest democracy. BJP almost lost the ground in Uttar Pradesh, and two regional parties mostly dominate the state i.e. the Samajwadi Party (SP) and the BahujanSamaj Party (BSP). The only other player, Ajit Singh’s RashtriyaLok Dal (RLD), is confined to a few Jat-dominated constituencies of western (UP). Congress conquered the state (with breaks in 1967 and 1977) on the back of a tough combination of Muslims, Dalits and Brahmins. A coalition of middle castes, fed up with the upper caste domination of Congress, drifted away to band under socialist outfits of different images, but could never muster enough numbers to pose any serious threat to the Grand Old Party. Ironically, Congress’s virtually uninterrupted power ended almost just after its record-shattering performance in 1984 LokSabha polls when it won 83 out of then 85 LokSabha seats after mopping up 51 per cent votes in the undivided state. Recent era was marked by the control of the Dalits and OBCs. BJP could not sustain its rainbow coalition that secured 36 per cent of the votes polled in 1998 following the dilution of the temple movement and the unceremonious removal of its OBC face Kalyan Singh from the post of chief minister in 1999.Since then, the BJP has been mostly dominated by upper caste leadership—which led to a large-scale shifting of OBC votes to the SP and the BSP. Since then, like the Congress, BJP, too faced a continuous slide in its poll fortunes. When Rajnath Singh shifted to the Centre, the BJP also suffered a leadership crisis in the Uttar Pradesh.
Thakur-Brahmin-Baniya combination on which the BJP relied upon in Uttar Pradesh and along with Other Backward Castes (OBCs), took it to power in the state on its own for the first time in 1991, was destroyed by Mayawati with the social coalition she engineered in the last assembly elections. However, its Brahmin vote bank had already started eroding in 1999. During the Virat Brahmin Mahasammelan in Sitapur in May 1999, the community signaled its shift after finding that the BJP-BSP coalition at the time was not benefiting the community. In the 13th LokSabha election, BJP’s total tally came down to 30 in Uttar Pradesh, and in the following 2002 assembly elections, its vote share dipped to 20.8 per cent.
An analysis of the caste profile of BJP candidates suggest that it gives even lesser number of OBC tickets than the SP and the BSP offer. The BJP leadership, which continued to be dominated by upper castes, could not sustain even its core vote base of Brahmins and Rajputs because the SP and the BSP aggressively pursued these castes by offering them tickets. The BJP in Uttar Pradesh contests election on 61 per cent vote base because the Dalits and the Muslims, constituting about 39 per cent voters, are archetypal non-BJP voters. It has also failed to tap OBCs.
If Mayawati would not have been such a rotten politician then UP could have been a different State altogether. Since ancient times,the caste system has led to poverty in this country as we also see it today. Hypocrisies of the Brahmins have brought more harm than anything else. If Mayawati would stop cheating the Dalits with such profound vanity and corruptness, then there could be prosperity for all. Mulayam and Mayawati play cheap politics.SP’s strategic shift has been most interesting to watch. After co-opting a large part of the Thakur vote in the state, it has set its sights on the Brahmin vote as well.
While the BJP might have aggressively returned to its Hindutva agenda and reiterated its “commitment to building the Ram Temple” at Ayodhya, the “mandir-masjid” issue clearly seems to have lost traction and relevance among the voters in the state.BJP has no other issue left, so they have decided to focus on the Ram Mandir issue yet again. This is just about desperation, so the BJP is obviously trying to reinvent the issue.In Ayodhya, even while the zeal to see a Ram temple built on the disputed structure continues.The ordinary voter is circumspect about intervention by any political party. BJP is now trying to rework its strategy, it has entirely forgotten RamMandir, and turned to development, Congress Mukt Bharat and corruption. Modi gave his Gujarat model mantra to every state during his speech. It seems the climax of two eras of Backward Class politics in Uttar Pradesh is in the search for a Brahmin vote bank.
Looking at the present waves, Muzzaffarnagar tragedy, Mayawati’s silent support to Congress and Samajwadi Party’s bad governance, this time BJP may get full swing in the state. So,this time there is high chance of BJP to concur one more state?