Uttar Pradesh braces for BJP’s communal-caste cauldron

BJP will focus broadly on the demonetisation and the surgical strike into Pakistan-occupied Kashmir as its key campaign planks. But sources said the real deal will, however, be the focus on caste and Hindutva.

Uttar Pradesh braces for BJP’s communal-caste cauldron

The BJP is set to play the caste and religion card with a vengeance to win the Uttar Pradesh Legislative Assembly elections, which will be held in 7-phases from February 11 to March 8.

Unnao MP Sakshi Maharaj’s statement today indirectly blaming Muslims for the increase in population is a step pointing to the adoption of the communal polarisation strategy.

Party sources say the BJP will focus broadly on the demonetisation and the surgical strike into Pakistan-occupied Kashmir as its key campaign planks. But sources said the real deal will, however, be the focus on caste and Hindutva.

Taking a leaf out of the 2014 Lok Sabha election success in Uttar Pradesh, the party is likely to finetune a different strategy for each and every assembly constituency.

For example in Muslim majority seats, the party will field Hindu candidates of the dominant caste in that constituency as Muslim votes can be expected to split among the Muslim (or Yadav) candidates of the SP, the BSP and the Asaduddin Owaisi-led AIMIM.

The BSP has given 97 tickets to Muslims a big thing for the party. It has lowered seats for Brahmins and increased for Muslims. The BJP is not worrying or losing sleep over the Congress. Nor is it panicking over even the possibility of a mahagathbandhan-type alliance of the Samajwadi Party, the Congress and the Rashtriya Lok Dal.

Even if the fissures in the Samajwadi Party remain or are dissolved due to ace negotiations, the BJP has plans for either situations. Some SP candidates who have won tickets through Mulayam Singh Yadav are also in touch with the BJP, for if the party chooses to run with Akhilesh Yadav’s list of aspirant MLAs, the disaffected can swing to the BJP.

Castewise distribution of the 403 UP Assembly

Savarna - 18% (of which 2/3rd is Brahmin)

OBC - 39% (12 % Yadav, 8% Kurmi and Saithwar, 5 % Jat, 4% Malla, 2% Vishawakarma,  7 % others)

Dalits - 25%

Muslims - 18%