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Brahmin Face of SP's Majority Outreach Now Rides BSP's Jumbo

At a time when the election season in Uttar Pradesh is in full swing and the voting for two phases is over, this is one political embarrassment that chief minister Akhilesh Yadav and Samajwadi Party would have wished to avoid.

Pranshu Mishra | CNN-News18

Updated:February 17, 2017, 8:16 PM IST
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Brahmin Face of SP's Majority Outreach Now Rides BSP's Jumbo
File Photo of Samajwadi Party (SP) president and chief minister of Uttar Pradesh Akhilesh Yadav. (Image: Reuters)
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Lucknow: At a time when the election season in Uttar Pradesh is in full swing and the voting for two phases is over, this is one political embarrassment that chief minister Akhilesh Yadav and Samajwadi Party would have wished to avoid.

The sitting minister in UP cabinet, Vijay Mishra on Thursday decided to part ways with SP and joined the rival ranks. Mishra, a Brahmin leader responsible for reaching out to the majority (Brahmin) community, joined BSP, alleging that Akhilesh and SP insulted the Brahmins.

Vijay Mishra is an MLA from Gajipur Sadar constituency, in eastern UP. He held the post of Minister of State, Independent Charge for Ministry of Religious Work.

The minister alleged that despite Chief Minister’s repeated assurances, he was denied a ticket. He also said that as the minister for Religious affairs he started the Shrawan Yatras. "Under the scheme, Hindu Pilgrims were offered a free visit to holy places.” The scheme helped restore government's popularity, he claimed.

The scheme, launched to reach out to the majority community, diluting charges of minority appeasement against the government.

Vijay's entry into the BSP is already being cited by the party as a proof of increasing support it draws from the upper caste. Mayawati, too, had been working on an upper caste strategy, but with a difference, especially when the key focus is on Dalit-Muslim equation.

One senior BSP leader on being asked about Mishra's induction in the party asked, “Vijay Mishra who?” before claiming that the Lucknow unit of the party would know better. Another leader also claimed to be unaware of the development.

Mishra’s recent political journey has been full of flip-flops.

In January 2017, after he was denied a ticket by Akhilesh Yadav, Mishra announced his decision to go solo from Gyanpur, his seat in South East UP, from where he has won assembly elections thrice. Mishra had resolved to decimate SP’s influence single-handedly.

But soon after realising the difficulties of fighting elections as an independent, Mishra announced that he’d joined a lesser known outfit, Jai Nishad Party (JNP). Nishad Party has been trying, with other smaller outfits like Peace Party and Krishna Patel led Apna Dal.

BSP has been banking heavily on its attempt to win the state elections by targeting specific vote banks. The party has not just given more seats (99) to Muslim candidates than any other party, it has also given a high representation to Brahmin candidates (66) as well.

Leaders like Mishra were entrusted with the responsibility of ensuring Brahim support for SP in 84 reserved constituencies, where the upper caste will not have a candidate from their community.

Politically, Mishra can have an impact in creating a perception in favour of the BSP. At this crucial stage when central and east UP are yet to go to polls, Mishra, an MLA from the Gajipur town in Eastern UP, can help BSP strengthen its position in the region.

(With inputs from Suhas Munshi)

| Edited by: Mirza Arif Beg
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