As UP Alliance Repairs Dailt-Yadav Faultlines, BJP Also Banks on Social Engineering in Etawah
The SP-BSP alliance are depending on the social engineering between Dalits, Muslims and OBCs to win back this seat from the BJP. The SP-BSP alliance has announced Kamlesh Katheria as their candidate from Etawah.
People standing in a queue outside a polling booth to cast their vote. (Image for representation)
Lucknow: With just three days left for the fourth phase of Lok Sabha elections, the focus in Uttar Pradesh shifts to the 13 parliamentary constituencies and five reserved seats that will go for polls on April 29. In one of the crucial seats - Etawah - the BJP, SP-BSP alliance and Congress have been banking on social engineering for their victory in the seat.
Interestingly, it was the Etawah by-polls in 1991 that set up a milestone firming the alliance between Samajwadi Party and Bahujan Samaj Party in the 1993 Assembly polls for the first time.
In 1991, when the founder of BSP Kanshiram had announced his candidature from Etawah parliamentary Lok Sabha seat for the by-polls. Kanshiram, who was busy campaigning on a bicycle, was silently supported by Mulayam Singh Yadav. Kanshiram won the by-poll against BJP candidate Lal Singh Verma.
Of the total 17 lakh voters, the Dalit dominate with 26 per cent of vote share in Etawah. Out of the 26 per cent, half of them are Jatavs, Koris, Valmikis and Chaks. Apart from this, there are approximately 1.5 lakh Muslims, 2 lakh Yadavs, 1.5 lakh Lodhis, 2 lakh Brahmins and 1 lakh Shakyas.
Though in 2014 elections, the SP and BSP had a combined vote share of 48.89% against BJP’s 46.71%, the seat was won by the BJP.
However, now when both SP and BSP have come together once again in 2019, both the parties are depending upon the social engineering between Dalits, Muslims and OBCs to win back this seat from the BJP. The SP-BSP alliance has announced Kamlesh Katheria as their candidate from Etawah. While Kamlesh Katheria had contested the 2017 state assembly elections on an SP ticket but lost.
According to a senior journalist and political analyst Parvez Ahmad, “The seat has been associated with Samajwadi Party founder Mulayam Singh Yadav as this is his hometown. However, the seat is with BJP for now as it had gained significant advantage among the non-Yadav OBCs and non-Jatav Scheduled Castes.”
Saying that the BJP has done much research in fielding the candidate from the Dalit dominated seat, Ahmad said, “Whoever manages good hand in social engineering on the ground will take away this reserved seat.”
The BJP has decided to field Ram Shankar Katheria, the sitting BJP MP from Agra, but hails from Etawah. Ram Shankar Katheria who has been an RSS pracharark in Etawah region was born and brought in Etawah and even did his graduation from KK Degree College in Etawah.
Meanwhile, the sitting BJP MP from Etawah, Ashok Dohre, switched sides to Congress after he was denied ticket by the BJP. During the Modi wave in 2014, the saffron party had bagged all the 17 reserved Lok Sabha seats including Etawah.
At one hand BJP has been pushing all its top leaders including UP Deputy Chief Minister Keshav Prasad Maurya to repeat the 2014 win, on the other hand, SP-BSP alliance are busy holding small sabhas at village level to revive their cadre and for a smooth transfer of votes. The main concern for SP-BSP in this region is to repair the Dalit-Yadav faultlines while the BJP will also be banking on the same.
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