Rajya Sabha Elections 2022: BJP relies on OBC-Dalit winning formula; here's a look at its candidates

With as many as 41 candidates previously declared unchallenged, the race will now be for 16 seats in four states

FPJ Web DeskUpdated: Thursday, June 09, 2022, 05:26 PM IST
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Elections for 57 Rajya Sabha seats in 15 states are scheduled for June 10, with results expected the same day. With as many as 41 candidates previously declared unchallenged, the race will now be for 16 seats in four states: Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Haryana, and Karnataka. Unlike in Lok Sabha elections, when members are elected directly by the public, Rajya Sabha MPs are elected indirectly, through MLAs.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) at the Central government which is one of the largest political parties in the country has chosen its formula of “political empowerment” of the Other Backward Classes (OBCs) and Dalits by focussing on them while nominating candidates for the elections.

The party has dropped some prominent party leaders from the list, including Union Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, Vinay Sahasrabuddhe, Prakash Javadekar, Dushyant Gautam and OP Mathur. However, among top BJP leaders who found place in the list include Union ministers Piyush Goyal and Nirmala Sitharaman from Maharashtra and Karnataka respectively.

The BJP seems to have made an earnest effort to address the intensifying politics over caste census by fielding nine OBC candidates. The candidate list is strictly in line with the social-engineering formula that has helped the party in its electoral battles since 2014. BJP leaders have attributed the party’s return to power in Uttar Pradesh to its command over the OBC-Dalit vote base in the state.

Just a day left for the election, here's a look at BJP's OBC, Dalit and other caste based candidates:

Uttar Pradesh:

In UP list, the party has accommodated two leaders from the forward castes - Laxmikant Bajpai and Radha Mohan Das Agarwal — and six from weaker sections. The six are Surendra Singh Nagar, Baburam Nishad, Sangeeta Yadav, Darshana Singh, Mithilesh Kumar, and K Laxman.

Bihar:

The party has chosen OBC leader Shambhu Sharan Patel and a Brahmin, Satish Chandra Dubey.

Karnataka:

Apart from Nirmala Sitharaman, the saffron party has nominated former actor Jageesh, who belongs to the Vokkaliga community and is considered to be close to former Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa, and the party’s former treasurer Lahar Singh Siroya.

Madhya Pradesh and Uttarakhand:

In MP, the party has picked two women — Sumitra Valmiki, a Dalit, and Kavita Patidar, an OBC leader. While, Kalpana Saini from Uttarakhand also belongs to a backward community.

Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh:

While candidate Anil Sukhdevrao Bonde from Maharashtra is from an OBC community, Ghanshyam Tiwari in Rajasthan is a Brahmin leader who had locked horns with former Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje years ago. Considering Raje’s not-so-good ties with the BJP’s top leadership, Tiwari’s return as a Rajya Sabha nominee has sent a clear message to the former CM and her camp.

Haryana and Jharkhand:

From Haryana, the party has chosen Dalit leader Krishan Lal Panwar for the Upper House while in Jharkhand the party’s nominee is Aditya Sahu who belongs to an OBC community.

Meanwhile, with three of its Muslim MPs - Union Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, former minister M J Akbar, and party spokesperson Zafar Islam — set to vacate their seats in the Upper House, the decision to not nominate a single candidate from the minority community has triggered discussions in BJP circles.

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