October 23, 2020

BJP prepares to woo OBCs, especially in Uttar Pradesh, Bihar

The BJP is preparing to woo OBCs, an important vote block that holds the key to the 2019 general election, especially in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar—the states that together send as many as 120 MPs to the Lok Sabha.

The party had invited feedback from various states on inputs for the campaign literature and training workshops for leaders from backward castes and morchas with a specific focus on UP and Bihar, sources said.

While at least one such training session would be organised in every state, six meetings had been planned for Uttar Pradesh and three for Bihar, they added.

A decision in this regard was taken at a brainstorming session addressed by BJP general secretary Muralidhar Rao.

The Modi government’s “pro-OBC” decisions, including abolishing interviews for Class-IV employees, formation of a sub-committee to benefit more backwards classes (MBCs) in the community and raising the creamy layer ceiling, would be highlighted to reach out to this politically critical grouping, leaders present at the meeting said.

“It is the largest voting block, holding a whole lot of scope for connect and expanding base,” they said.

Disenchantment among OBCs was pinned as one of the main reasons of the BJP’s recent bypoll defeats in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. Faced with the possibility of a joint opposition in 2019, the government is already working on a “quota within the quota” concept for most backward classes (MBCs) among the community.

A panel has been set up to look at eligibility of MBCs to access sub-quota within 27 per cent quota for OBCs. That his government wanted the most backward in the category to benefit more from reservation in the set limit was also highlighted by the PM at his Baghpat rally, hours before Kairana polled.

MBCs are an integral part of the BJP’s arithmetic for 2019, particularly in states like Uttar Pradesh and Bihar that are driven by caste and religion-based politics and parties. Though they account for a sizeable figure, unlike Kurmis and Yadavs they have not been as successful in transforming their numerical might into political strength or take advantage of the quota benefits.

Courtesy: Tribune News Service

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