Lucknow, Oct 7 (IANS) With the issue of caste census gaining momentum in states like Bihar, it is unlikely to make much impact in Uttar Pradesh where the ruling BJP has perfectly positioned the ‘Kamandal’ over ‘Mandal’.
UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has firmly turned down the demand for a caste census even though the BJP’s allies have started a whispering campaign in favour of it.
The Samajwadi Party’s caste census card aims at changing the arithmetic to 85 versus 15, with 85 being OBCs and Dalits and 15 being upper castes.
However, Yogi Adityanath has countered this by saying that the 2024 election would be 80 versus 20 with 80 being Hindus and 20 being minorities and this formula — in the prevailing circumstances — seems more potent than the caste card.
The regional parties, namely, the Samajwadi Party which is one of the main Opposition parties in UP, have also sensed that denting the BJP would be a near impossible task in 2024 since, by then, the Ram temple would be ready and the BJP’s Hindu plank would be reinforced like never before.
The BJP and members of the Sangh Parivar are already planning a massive build-up for the consecration ceremony of the Ram temple on January 2024 – which will be just ahead of the general elections.
Special trains will bring in devotees from all states, special yatras will criss-cross the country and several campaigns will be held to herald the opening of the Ram temple.
In fact, events will begin from Diwali eve when 21 lakh earthen lamps will be lit on the banks of the Saryu River. Yogi Adityanath is determined to play the Hindu card with a vengeance and his style of governance proves it.
The killings of gangster-turned-politician Atiq Ahmad and his brother Ashraf and the encounter of his son Asad has left the atmosphere in Uttar Pradesh highly surcharged on communal lines.
The ongoing action against Azam Khan and his family and the clan of Mukhtar Ansari is another step in this direction. The Opposition parties have avoided highlighting this tirade against one community because apparently, they do not want to lose out on Hindu support.
Meanwhile, a massive campaign to renovate temples across the state has also strengthened the state government’s image as a ‘Hindu government’. The BJP is simultaneously wooing the backward castes with the intention to dilute the Opposition’s demand for a caste census.
The three allies in the Yogi Adityanath government – the Nishad Party, the Suheldev Bharatiya Samaj Party (SBSP) and the Apna Dal – represent three strong backward caste groups.
The Nishad Party represents the Nishad community, the SBSP claims to enjoy complete Rajbhar support while Apna Dal is a Kurmi-centric party.
The BJP in UP has been making a conscious and uninterrupted effort to keep these allies in good humour so that it can enlist the support of their respective caste groups. This is a clear indication that it is not banking on the Hindutva plank alone and will continue to make efforts to win over more and more OBC and Dalit groups to its side.