New Delhi: Anticipating a Bihar-like grand alliance in UP in the next general elections, BJP is holding talks with the RSS to chalk out a strategy to upend a larger socio-political coalition of all opposition parties.
The incumbent president Keshav Prasad Maurya is now a deputy CM in Yogi Adityanath's government. A Most Backward Class (MBC) leader from Phulpur in Allahabad, Maurya's elevation as state chief backed by the RSS helped BJP to consolidate non-Yadav OBC voters taking the party vote-share to well past 40 percent in the just concluded Assembly polls.
BJP's three-fourth majority in the Assembly came at the cost of total decimation of BSP. Samajwadi Party was also reduced to its worst tally since its inception. But the two parties together with Congress polled more than fifty percent votes.
Facing marginalisation in state politics, there is every possibility that the two state parties may come together to take on the BJP in 2019.
In 1992, at the peak of Ram Temple movement in UP, Mulayam and Kanshi Ram joined hands to defeat the BJP in Assembly polls. The rest is history. In 2019, BJP does not want this history to repeat itself in UP.
Sensing realignment in the state politics there is a view emerging that the next UP state president should be from the Dalit community. This is aimed at further weaning away Mayawati's Dalit vote base which is said to be close to 20 percent.
"There are many seats in western UP where Muslims and Dalits together comprise of more than 50 percent of the electorate. Is case of total mobilisation of these communities, there is little scope left for us," says a BJP MP from Western UP.
Even in the just-concluded Assembly polls, BJP has made a concerted effort to ensure there was no polarisation in the first two phases.
"That would have been counter-productive has the minorities mobilised behind BSP. Here we gave an impression that the our fight was with the SP when BSP in reality was the main contender," says an RSS leader from the region.
About half a dozen names from the Dalit communities are under consideration for the state president. That includes former MoS HRD and Agra MP Ram Shankar Katheria. Katheria is from the Dhanuk SC community.
Others in the race are: Kaushambi MP Vijay Sonkar, Bulandshahr MP Bhola Singh and Hathras MP Rajesh Diwakar.