Take the pledge to vote

For a better tommorow#AajSawaroApnaKal
  • I agree to receive emails from News18

  • I promise to vote in this year's elections no matter what the odds are.
  • Please check above checkbox.

    SUBMIT

Thank you for
taking the pledge

Vote responsibly as each vote counts
and makes a diffrence

Disclaimer:

Issued in public interest by HDFC Life. HDFC Life Insurance Company Limited (Formerly HDFC Standard Life Insurance Company Limited) (“HDFC Life”). CIN: L65110MH2000PLC128245, IRDAI Reg. No. 101 . The name/letters "HDFC" in the name/logo of the company belongs to Housing Development Finance Corporation Limited ("HDFC Limited") and is used by HDFC Life under an agreement entered into with HDFC Limited. ARN EU/04/19/13618
SPONSORED BY
LIVE TV DownloadNews18 App
News18 English
»
3-min read

BJP Banks on Minor OBCs as Gathbandhan Mobilised Dalit-Muslims in West UP

How West UP votes in the first two phases of polling will be important in shaping up the trends for the remaining 60 odd seats in the state and in many ways, will determine the shape and structure of the next government at the Centre.

Sumit Pande | News18.com

Updated:April 11, 2019, 7:26 AM IST
facebookTwittergoogleskypewhatsapp
BJP Banks on Minor OBCs as Gathbandhan Mobilised Dalit-Muslims in West UP
Image for representation. (Getty Images)
Loading...
Westerlies, they say, favour the BJP in election season in Uttar Pradesh. This means that in a multi-phased voting, if elections started from the far west and ended in Bihar-bordering Purvanchal, the saffron party in days of yore did well.

This notion is backed by both anecdotal and empirical evidence. During its formative years, BJP leaders such as Kalyan Singh came from the West. Moreover, a high percentage of minority population in the western districts made these constituencies susceptible to communal polarisation. And in a multi-party first-past-the-post system, a split in minority votes tends to suit the BJP.

In the last five years, since Prime Minister Modi chose to contest from Varanasi, the BJP has sought to strengthen itself in the east. Sample this: chief minister Yogi Adityanath is from Purvanchal and deputy CM KP Maurya from Prayagraj. However, unlike the past, the BJP in 2019 faces a higher quotient of opposition unity in west UP.

Except for the two constituencies of Saharanpur and Moradabad, the chances of a split of minority votes this time are remote.

Yet, the most conspicuous phenomenon at the end of the first phase of campaigning in the state, surprisingly, is the lack of palpable excitement among voters. From Bijnor to Baghpat and Shamli to Saharanpur, the ennui is apparent and pervasive. Except for the social groups with known political preferences, others are silent.

This strange lull, which prevails even in the urban centers, can perhaps be better explained in the words of a tea seller in Saharanpur, “Chunaav mein current nahin hai is baar.”

In the rural pockets of the west, the gathbandhan seems to be working in mobilising the anti-BJP votes. But the aim is to not trigger counter polarisation.

On the outskirts of Khatauli in Muzaffarnager constituency, it is business as usual outside Rajesh Banquet Hall. Inside, however, Samajwadi Party (SP), Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) leaders are busy hatching strategies to maximise voter turnout.

In Muzaffarnagar, they say their candidate is not RLD’s Ajit Singh but ‘gathbandhan ke Ajit Singh’, in Bijnor – ‘Gathbandhan ke Malook Nagar’. And so, dancing to the tune, SP leader Tabassum Hasan becomes ‘Gathbandhan ki Tabassum Hassan’ in Kairana as she battles it out against BJP’s Pradeep Choudhary.

Evidently, Gathbandhan as a single and cohesive political entity, is entrenched in the social base of the SP, BSP and RLD.

Except for Saharanpur and Bijnor, where the party has fielded Muslim candidates, the Congress as a third player is trying to wean away BJP votes. No Congress candidates from Muzaffarnagar and Baghpat — from where Ajit Singh and Jayant Chowdhary — are contesting, would translate into consolidation of Muslim votes in support of RLD leaders in these constituencies.

In Ghaziabad, Gautambudh Nagar, Meerut and Kairana, the party has fielded strong upper-caste candidates to wean away a section of BJP’s base vote.

But the ruling BJP’s penetration among minor OBCs remains its biggest strength this election — and the Kashyap, Saini, Kushwaha, Pals, along with many other backward communities, have galvanised in support of the party.

Condensing and coalescing sugarcane juice to jaggery in Butradi village, 25 kilometers from Shamli, a group of young boys in their late teens mull over elections. They are part of an extended family of a Kashyap household, with some of them coming as far as Muzaffargar, to lend a helping hand.

They identify with BJP as a social group, which has given more space to their community vis-a- vis the SP and BSP.

How West UP votes in the first two phases of polling will be important in shaping up the trends for the remaining 60 odd seats in the state and in many ways, will determine the shape and structure of the next government at the Centre. ​
| Edited by: Zoya Mateen
Read full article
Loading...
Next Story
Next Story

Also Watch

facebookTwittergoogleskypewhatsapp
 
T&C Apply. ARN EU/04/19/13626
 

Live TV

Loading...
Countdown To Elections Results
  • 01 d
  • 12 h
  • 38 m
  • 09 s
To Assembly Elections 2018 Results