Caste factors to dominate while drawing BJP's future roadmap in UP

Caste factors to dominate while drawing BJPs future roadmap in UP

New Delhi : BSP supremo Mayawati' s revival journey winning 10 Lok Sabha seats in parliamentary polls as against none in 2014 does offer some challenges to BJP. The 'Modi magic' might have been a strong force in Lok Sabha polls, but when it comes to day-to-day management of party affairs in country's most populous state of Uttar Pradesh, the BJP strategists are certainly to give weightage to socio-political factors before drawing up plans for organisational polls. This indication was given by a section of the party a day before BJP national president Amit Shah meets senior leaders and office bearers on Thursday to kickstart the process of organisational polls, from booth to mandal, district and state level polls and at the central level for party positions. "It will be six-month long drawn programme and can extend up to December and finally we could have a new president or continue with Amit Shahji by January 2020," a party source told UNI. The party leaders have already held a series of meetings on forthcoming assembly elections in Maharashtra, Jharkhand and Haryana. A section of leaders have indicated that the party's Jammu and Kashmir unit too has to get going for assembly polls expected by the year end as hinted by the Election Commission. Sources said caste equations would be certain in play to work out party's future roadmap in Uttar Pradesh - which has yet again reposed faith in the saffron party sending 62 MPs to the Lower House of Parliament.

The party leaders are also scanning various media analyses especially post-poll surveys including the seemingly credible CSDS-Lokniti Survey that shows among other things that BJP's hold over Brahmins, Kurmis and Koeris, the lower Other Backward Classes (OBCs), Jats and Rajputs were responsible for the saffron success tale. Importantly, the BJP leaders have taken note that despite perception about Mahagatbandhan's failure, it is a "bitter truth" that Mayawati-led BSP has made a come back winning 10 Lok Sabha seats as against zero in 2014. In 2012, the BSP vote share in assembly polls was 25.91 per cent and seats tally had come down to 80 from 206 in 2007. In 2017 assembly polls, BSP vote share had declined to 22.23 per cent and number of seats nosedived to a modest 19. "From caste equations factor, the poll results need closer study in UP. In 2019, BSP's vote share dropped marginally to 19.26 from 19.77 per cent as in 2014, but it won 10 Lok Sabha seats. So, it was Akhilesh Yadav who paid the price of coming together with its bitter foe (BSP)," a key party leader told UNI. The source further said - Samajwadi's vote share dropped from 22.35 to 17.96 per cent and its seats number remained same as five.

In terms of next assembly elections in UP in 2022, all these caste factors would come into play - more so because such an electoral fray will not be for 'electing Narendra Modi as Prime Minister'. Giving reference to post poll surveys, sources said one factor that contributed to SP's debacle was shift of Muslim support base towards Congress. "Apparently, 15-16 per cent of Muslim vote share was cornered by the Congress and some of it about 7-8 per cent also came to BJP," they claimed. The BSP, according to BJP strategists, also benefited due to the fact that most urban seats between SP and Mayawati's outfit were contested by Akhilesh Yadav's party. In this context, they point out parliamentary constituencies such as Varanasi, Lucknow, Ghaziabad and Kanpur - these are essentially BJP bastions. "We need to draw out plans at the ground level because both SP and BSP have their own respective strengths. SP has strong preference amongst Muslims and Yadavs while Jatavs (among Dalits) have stuck to BSP," the BJP source said. Akhilesh Yadav's SP remains the 'first choice' of Muslims until Congress "reinvents" itself and importantly, some Muslim voters went to BSP because of its friendship with Samajwadi. Such minority voters were apparently reluctant in 2017 and 2014 because the Muslims also suspected Mayawati's "deal making ability" with the BJP. "If BJP has to continue with its prominent position, we have to ensure that SP must not enlarge its popularity beyond the Yadavs and Muslims," the source pointed out. On Thursday's meeting, Mr Shah and other leaders will fine tune plans to launch a new membership drive, appoint 'returning officers' etc to verify the membership and start internal election process. BJP chief will also hold a meeting of party general secretaries on June 18 or 19 to finalise internal poll programmes to be conducted at the state level.

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