Bihar's Political Waves Reach Uttar Pradesh As BJP Targets Kurmi Vote Bank Amid OBC Dynamics

Bihar's Political Waves Reach Uttar Pradesh As BJP Targets Kurmi Vote Bank Amid OBC Dynamics

The significance of the OBC factor in UP cannot be overstated, with all political parties closely monitoring this demographic.

BISWAJEET BANERJEEUpdated: Tuesday, January 30, 2024, 08:58 PM IST
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The recent political developments in Bihar are poised to reverberate across the political landscape of neighboring Uttar Pradesh. While the opposition braces for increased challenges, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) eyes an opportunity to consolidate support from the Kurmi vote bank, the second-largest population among Other Backward Classes (OBCs).

The significance of the OBC factor in UP cannot be overstated, with all political parties closely monitoring this demographic. Out of the state's approximately 25 crore population, around 54 per cent belong to backward castes. Among them, the proportion of backward castes within the Muslim community is estimated to be around 12 per cent.

Approximately 42 per cent of the Hindu population in UP belongs to backward castes. Among them, Yadavs constitute the largest group at 20 percent, followed by Kurmis at around 9 percent. With over two dozen Lok Sabha seats in the state heavily influenced by Kurmi voters, their support holds significant electoral sway.

In acknowledgment of the Kurmi community's political importance, the BJP has strategically included Kurmi representatives in both the state and central cabinets. Notable figures such as Swatantra Dev Singh, Ashish Singh Patel, Rakesh Sachan, and Sanjay Gangwar represent the community in the state cabinet, while at the center, MPs like Pankaj Choudhary and Anupriya Patel, President of Apna Dal, serve as ministers.

While Nitish Kumar's return to the NDA may not directly translate into substantial Kurmi support for the BJP in UP, his presence could disrupt the opposition's political arithmetic. By aligning with the NDA, the BJP gains a vocal advocate to challenge the Samajwadi Party's Progressive Democratic Alliance (PDA) and the Congress-led alliance.

Key leaders within Nitish Kumar's camp, notably KC Tyagi, have already launched scathing attacks on the Congress, accusing it of hindering Nitish's leadership aspirations within the opposition coalition. This shift signals a potential realignment of political allegiances, with Nitish's camp assuming a more adversarial stance against the Congress, potentially impacting the dynamics of UP politics in the upcoming elections.

“As the NDA gears up to assail the SP and Congress, Nitish Kumar's re-entry into the alliance injects a new dimension into the electoral discourse of UP. With the battle lines drawn, political maneuvering intensifies as parties vie for the support of crucial OBC constituencies, setting the stage for a fiercely contested electoral showdown in the state,” a political analyst Manoj Bhadra said.

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