By: Dheeraj Upadhyay
With about eight months still left for 2022 UP assembly elections, but every political outfit is trying to woo its voters to get the required numbers. With incumbent Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) getting its act together after taking cue from its Panchayat election drubbing in the nick of time before next state elections. Social media and social engineering is what BJP is betting on rather than solely relying on its core nationalism and Hindutva plank.
UP is an important state since it paves the way for Centre in 2024 and BJP knows it well. BJP top brass is eyeing and relying on the backward caste especially votes especially the non Yadav votes and its reliable social media to get it over the line in next state assembly elections in UP. According to the source party has decided to rope in former Bihar CM Jitan Ram Manjhi party Hindustani Awam Morcha (HAM) (Secular) to influence Dalit voters along with a seat sharing arrangement with RLP & Nishad party and present alliance partner Apna Dal (Anupriya Patel) during the assembly elections in UP next year.
Samajwadi Party (SP) chief Akhilesh Yadav has already hinted that he would forge an alliance with small parties instead of biggies taking lessons from previous alliances with Congress and Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP).
BJP has set the ball rolling by reaching to the leaders of the backward castes to save its Dalit and backward vote bank associated with it since 2014. According to senior political analyst RM Lal, in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, a large section of the OBCs voters had come to BJP’s side and stayed with it even in the 2017 and 2019 elections also.
Home Minister Amit Shah’s meeting with Apna Dal (S) Anupriya Patel and Nishad Party President Sanjay Singh last month is a part of the same strategy where BJP is aligning with backward caste leaders under its social engineering plan. UP elections even after seven decades of Independence is dominated by caste politics over development and all the parties cede to caste equation more than development, whether it’s Congress, BJP or any other party.
UP’s caste equation
In Uttar Pradesh, BJP’s eyes set mainly on non-Yadav Backward votes of (26%) + Dalit Jatav voters of (11%). In the last elections Jatav Dalit voters (11%) supported the BJP. While backward / non-Yadav (26%) OBC votes have helped BJP to put them into power in the last two Lok Sabha and 2017 Vidhan Sabha elections.
Meanwhile, BJP is stretching for backward caste but it doesn’t bother too much about its 23 per cent upper caste voters, which remained intact with it since last two decades. Although there is some resentment in the upper caste voters too, following the Covid mismanagement, but due to lack of option and momentum in the construction of Ram temple will offset these and they are more likely to take sides with BJP before election.
Reliable social media to rescue BJP in UP polls
In the view of upcoming UP elections BJP has revamped its media spokepersons team with fresh faces to set the tone for polls. BJP it cell too is expanding its social media team further in the state to even district and block level. This team will now communicate the work done by Modi and Yogi Government effectively into the public through various means of social media and will also counter the fake narratives and allegations of the opposition.
BJP will left no stone unturned to regain power in UP under the aegis of CM Yogi Adityanath, who has become the mascot of Hindu fire brand leader in the Hindi heartland. BJP will keep the pot boiling of nationalism since there is no marquee development project under the belt of Yogi in UP, except the nearly completed 340 km long- Purvanchal Expressway which is scheduled to get open and functional from next month.