Will The Uttar Pradesh Polls Mark The End Of The BJP's Multi Caste Hindutva Vote Base?
THE WEEK|January 30, 2022
The exodus of OBC allies from the BJP camp has led to this question: Will the assembly polls mark the end of the ruling party’s multi-caste hindutva vote base
Puja Awasthi

Was it a trickle or a deluge for Uttar Pradesh’s ruling BJP, which saw over a dozen MLAs leaving it days before the party announced its first list of candidates for the assembly polls?

The answer varies, depending on whom one asks. For the BJP, these MLAs were rejects from its list of candidates. But the opposition, most crucially the Samajwadi Party to which most of the defecting MLAs have gone, believes this is the end of the BJP’s multi-caste vote base that flipped it to power in the 2017 elections.

The truth is more nuanced. Most of those who quit were not BJP veterans. The three ministers—Swami Prasad Maurya, Dharam Singh Saini and Dara Singh Chauhan—were in the Bahujan Samaj Party before the 2017 polls. Strictly from an ideological viewpoint, the Samajwadi Party’s socialism is a closer fit for those who have been Ambedkarites. Again, not all defectors belong to OBC (Other Backward Class).

Identified on the basis of socio-economic backwardness, Uttar Pradesh has 76 castes in the OBC list. While there is no exact figure for their numbers (as caste census has not been carried out), they account for about 40 per cent of the state’s population. As a bloc, they outstrip any other caste. Within this bloc, the Yadavs are the most prominent politically, even though the Samajwadi Party does not identify itself as a caste outfit. Political power to the Yadavs has been an offshoot of their dominant status in the local caste hierarchy where they have traditionally owned land and cattle.

But when denied social and/or economic power, castes seek political power for upward mobilisation. One prominent example of this is the Apna Dal (S) formed in 1995 to garner the Kurmi votes. The rise and importance of that party can be gauged by the fact that its leader, Anupriya Patel, is currently Union minister of state for commerce and industry.

Thus, political power is both a means and an end.

Continue reading your story on the app

Continue reading your story in the magazine

MORE STORIES FROM THE WEEKView All

THE WORLD IS NOT ENOUGH

The Indian IT sector is set to cash in on the many opportunities that the metaverse offers

7 mins read
THE WEEK
June 05, 2022

The rewind club

Love vintage Hindi film songs? Tune in to an online music club for trivia and more

4 mins read
THE WEEK
June 05, 2022

Friends with benefits

Long known as a slow negotiator, India is suddenly on an FTA signing spree

8 mins read
THE WEEK
June 05, 2022

Foiling the dragon

There will be many more intrusions across the LAC if China perceives India is weak

3 mins read
THE WEEK
June 05, 2022

Act of faith

Questions are now being raised about the legality of the Places of Worship Act, 1991

4 mins read
THE WEEK
June 05, 2022

A BRIDGE TOO FAR

China’s new bridge on Pangong Tso allows it to move troops and tanks quickly across the region, forcing India to rework its defensive and offensive strategies in Ladakh. THE WEEK reports from the shores of the disputed lake

10+ mins read
THE WEEK
June 05, 2022

I got affected because I was ignorant of law. I want to be a lawyer now

A.G. PERARIVALAN is finally back home, after having spent nearly 31 years behind bars. One of the seven convicts in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case, he was initially sentenced to death; the Supreme Court later commuted it to life imprisonment. In March this year, he was granted bail and, on May 18, the Supreme Court ordered his early release.

7 mins read
THE WEEK
June 05, 2022

CAG's dull decade

If things go as per the plans of Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla, the coming monsoon session of the two houses could be the last to be held in the old circular building. Construction teams and interior decorators are working hard to ready the new Parliament House in the adjoining plot in time for the winter session in November.

2 mins read
THE WEEK
June 05, 2022

KEEPER OF FAITH

For 31 years, Arputham Ammal—the mother of Rajiv Gandhi assassination case convict A.G. Perarivalan—never lost hope

5 mins read
THE WEEK
June 05, 2022

PRAYERS OF ANGER

Complex questions concerning beliefs and rituals, and history and law, envelop the Gyanvapi controversy

7 mins read
THE WEEK
June 05, 2022
RELATED STORIES

India Election Body Struggles With Scale Of Fake Information

When India’s Election Commission announced last month that its code of conduct would have to be followed by social media companies as well as political parties, some analysts scoffed, saying it lacked the capacity and speed required to check the spread of fake news ahead of a multi-phase general election that begins April 11.

4 mins read
AppleMagazine
April 5, 2019

India At A Crossroads

India is known as the land of contradictions, and recent events do little to undermine that reputation.

6 mins read
Reason magazine
January 2019

CASTE FACTOR TO PLAY PIVOTAL ROLE IN UPCOMING RAJYA SABHA ELECTIONS

Khap Panchayats and candidates of other communities in fray for ticket in both ruling BJP and Opposition Congress.

2 mins read
The Daily Guardian
May 26, 2022

मंत्री देश भर में पहुंचाएंगे सरकार की उपलब्धियां

केंद्र की नरेंद्र मोदी सरकार के लगातार सत्ता में रहने के आठ साल पूरे होने पर पार्टी देश भर में उन सीटों पर विशेष अभियान चलाएगी, जिन पर वह बीते चुनाव में दूसरे व तीसरे स्थान पर रही थी ।

1 min read
Hindustan Times Hindi
May 26, 2022

Bypolls for Rajinder Nagar on June 23: BJP heavyweights in fray, AAP hopes to hold on

THE BYPOLL for Rajinder Nagar assembly constituency will take place on June 23, and the counting of votes will be done on June 26, said the Election Commission of India in a press statement.

1 min read
The Indian Express Delhi
May 26, 2022

BJP slows turncoats' entry as demands hit poll plans

Party's Internal Squabbles Add To Its Woes

1 min read
The Times of India Hyderabad
May 26, 2022

Bengal cannot be won with good speeches: Arjun Singh

Before the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, Arjun Singh left the TMC and joined the BJP.

2 mins read
The Daily Guardian
May 24, 2022

Ahead of Gujarat poll, BJP identifies AAP as key challenger in tribal areas

IF BJP sources are to be believed, the party's Gujarat unit appears more concerned about AAP's tactic and searching posers than the Congress, which is seen as divided from the top.

1 min read
The New Indian Express
May 24, 2022

After infighting, BJP now troubled by covert netas

Senior Leaders Say Such Members Can Alter BJP's Chances In Polls

2 mins read
The Times of India Hyderabad
May 24, 2022

आप-बीटीपी: कारगर होगा?

राजस्थान के वागड़ यानी, आदिवासी वोटों पर कांग्रेस और भाजपा के साथ अब भारतीय ट्राइबल पार्टी (बीटीपी) के सहयोग से आम आदमी पार्टी (आप) भी नजरें गड़ा रही है. गुजरात की तर्ज पर आप राजस्थान में भी बीटीपी के साथ गठबंधन की तैयारी कर रही है. अगर आप और बीटीपी का गठबंधन होता है तो आने वाले चुनाव में दक्षिण राजस्थान में अलग तरह का घमासान देखने को मिल सकता है.

1 min read
India Today Hindi
June 01, 2022