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

1/16/2022
Stung by a series of defections to the Samajwadi Party, the Bharatiya Janata Party in Uttar Pradesh is now pursuing the policy of 'Hindu First'.

The policy of 'Hindu First' follows the policy first propounded by late Kalyan Singh.

This policy aims at blurring caste lines and bringing all Hindus -- particularly, OBCs and Dalits -- under the one umbrella.

The first list of 107 candidates released by the BJP on Saturday, clearly indicates that the party is trying to project an inclusive image and blunt the Samajwadi Party president Akhilesh Yadav's efforts to polarize OBCs in his favour.

The BJP's first list has 44 OBCs, and 19 Dalits, which means nearly 60 per cent of the tickets and this is in proportion to the combined Dalit and OBC population.

In 2017 too, the party fielded 44 OBCs on these seats.

Among the OBCs, the party has given the largest representation to Jats with 16 seats. The move is an attempt to assuage Jat feelings in the wake of the farmers' agitation. Gurjars have been given 7 and Lodhs have got six seats. Saini, Kashyap, Kushwaha, Prajapati and Kurmi candidates have also been included.

Among the 19 Dalits, the BJP has given 13 tickets to Jatavs who constitute Mayawati's loyal voter base. Other sub castes like Valmiki, Dhobi, Khatik, Pai and Banjara have also been accommodated.

Apparently, the BJP is striking at the BSP vote base since Mayawati has been inactive so far and her party cadres are expectedly demoralised.

Interestingly, among the upper castes, it is Thakurs who have got the lion's share with 18 seats while Brahmin lag behind with 10 and Vaishyas with 8 seats.

The BJP is obviously not going overboard to please the Brahmin voters this time.

To counter Priyanka Gandhi Vadra's women outreach, the BJP, in its first list, has named 10 women candidates, which is less compared to 2017.

A senior party functionary admitted that the party was consciously trying to demolish caste lines.

"We are not promoting casteism like Akhilesh Yadav is doing. We believe in consolidating all those who are Hindus -- from Dalits to Brahmins. This is what Yogi Adityanath meant when he spoke of 80 versus 20 recently," said the party functionary.

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