Battle for UP: BJP follows ‘Hindu first’ policy to counter Akhilesh

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Lucknow, Jan 16 (IANS) Stung by a series of defections to the Samajwadi party, the Bharatiya Janata party in Uttar Pradesh is now pursuing a ‘Hindu first’ policy.

The policy of ‘Hindu First’ follows the policy first proposed by the late Kalyan Singh.

This policy aims to blur caste boundaries and bring all Hindus – especially OBCs and Dalits – under one umbrella.

The first list of 107 candidates released by the BJP on Saturday makes it clear that the party is trying to project an inclusive image and blunt efforts by Samajwadi party chairman Akhilesh Yadav to polarize OBCs in his favour.

The first list of the BJP has 44 OBCs and 19 Dalits, which represents almost 60% of the tickets and this is proportional to the combined Dalit and OBC population.

Also in 2017, the party fielded 44 OBCs for these seats.

Among the OBCs, the party gave the largest representation to the Jats with 16 seats. The move is an attempt to assuage Jat’s feelings following the farmers’ unrest. The Gurjars received 7 seats and the Lodhs got six seats. Candidates Saini, Kashyap, Kushwaha, Prajapati and Kurmi were also included.

Among the 19 Dalits, the BJP gave 13 tickets to the Jatavs who constitute Mayawati’s loyal electoral base. Other sub-castes like Valmiki, Dhobi, Khatik, Pai and Banjara were also welcomed.

Apparently, the BJP is hitting the BSP’s electoral base since Mayawati has remained inactive so far and her party cadres are believed to be demoralized.

Interestingly, among the upper castes, the Thakurs take the lion’s share with 18 seats while the Brahmins lag behind with 10 and the Vaishyas with 8 seats.

The BJP is obviously not going too far to please Brahmin voters this time.

To counter Priyanka Gandhi Vadra’s female mobilization, the BJP, in its first list, nominated 10 female candidates, down from 2017.

A senior party official admitted that the party was consciously trying to tear down caste lines.

“We don’t promote caste like Akhilesh Yadav does. We believe in nurturing all who are Hindus – from Dalits to Brahmins. This is what Yogi Adityanath meant when he said 80 to 20 recently,” the party official said.

–IANS

amita/dpb

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