With Akhilesh Yadav playing the caste card, BJP could face stiff challenge in 2024

Manoj Srivastava 

Lucknow:  After the demolition of the disputed Ayodhya structure built on Shri Ram Janmabhoomi in 1992 by one section of society under the leadership of Vishwa Hindu Parishad, a wave of Hindutva swept across the country and especially in Uttar Pradesh. Samajwadi Party President Mulayam Singh Yadav was most afraid of this wave.

Mulayam stopped the victory chariot of BJP Chief Minister Kalyan Singh in Uttar Pradesh by forging an alliance with BSP chief Kanshi Ram in the 1993 assembly elections to cool down the heat of Hindutva.

Muslims united with Mulayam with full force, Mulayam stitched together the Yadav vote bank by creating an emotional caste. Because of the alliance with the BSP, Kanshi Ram galvanized a lump sum vote.

As a result, Mulayam Singh became the Chief Minister in 1992 with the SP-BSP alliance. But Yadavs and Muslims had a certain aversion towards Dalits.

Allegedly Yadavs and Muslims increased atrocities on Dalits so much that even the feudal powers were put to shame. Mayawati was becoming a major stumbling block in Chief Minister Mulayam Singh Yadav’s campaign to usurp the BSP. Mulayam got the state guest house attacked by some members of the SP  in 1995.

Mayawati’s life was saved. SP and BSP’s alliance broke. In 2019, Akhilesh again tied up with the BSP. But they did not get any benefit. Their seats in the Lok Sabha remained only 5 out of 5. In 2014 also, 5 Lok Sabha MPs of SP had won. BSP’s account was not opened in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections.

In 2019, BSP won 10 MPs in the Lok Sabha. Akhilesh Yadav is running the same bet for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections of 2024. In the 2022 assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh, Akhilesh had tied up with Om Prakash Rajbhar’s Bharatiya Samaj Party, which benefited him in the Rajbhar-dominated districts of Purvanchal.

In Azamgarh, Ambedkar Nagar, Basti, the BJP lost ground. BJP in Basti got only one seat. SP has won the remaining four seats. The BJP’s account was not opened in Azamgarh and Ambedkar Nagar.

In western Uttar Pradesh, the Samajwadi Party had an alliance with Chandrashekhar Ravan and Jayant Chowdhary. SP’s strategists are trying hard to create caste disharmony in UP. Swami Prasad Maurya is giving new controversial statements everyday in the same experiment.

During a TV program in Lucknow recently, there was a verbal volley between Mahant Rajudas of Ayodhya Hanumangarhi and Swami Prasad Maurya, Mahant of Tapsi Cantonment. Akhilesh Yadav is in the process of cornering the BJP on regional issues, region-wise and caste-wise.

BJP leaders are not ready to get off the bulldozer before 2024. It seems that the process of adding small neglected castes in BJP has come to a standstill. Before the formation of the new state BJP team, UP BJP General Secretary Sangathan Dharampal and State President Bhupendra Singh have been surrounded by upper castes.

The way defectors were given preference in the name of adding new faces to the organization had become a concern for the BJP in the 2022 assembly elections.

When Swami Prasad Maurya, Dara Singh Chauhan and Dharampal Saini resigned from Yogi Adityanath’s government, the Samajwadi Party tried to encash it in their favour. If the BJP leadership still does not emerge from the glare of affluent defectors, Deputy Chief Minister Keshav Prasad Maurya’s claim of winning 80 seats will not hold water. Opposition strategists are well aware that Modi’s goal of becoming the Prime Minister for the third time will be difficult if the BJP gets cornered in UP.

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