Lucknow: The BJP in UP is in a deep hole.
On Thursday, yet another influential backward leader and minister, Dharam Singh Saini, deserted the Yogi Adityanath government and announced his decision to join the Samajwadi Party. Interestingly, only 24 hours ago, Saini, a four-time MLA from Nakud in Saharanpur, had quashed reports that he was leaving the BJP.
The resignation followed a similar pattern, with Akhilesh Yadav sharing a photo with his latest ‘‘trophy’’ and "welcoming him". Yet again, Yadav used the hashtag ‘Mela Hobe’ - a tweaked version of the Trinamool Congress's wildly successful buzzword "Khela Hobey (game on)". The near identical resignation letters, posted on Twitter, indicated concerted planning and strategy, and not just an uncanny coincidence, sources pointed out.
Three legislators and a few other leaders – all of them OBCs -- have also snapped their ties with the BJP. Till date, 8 leaders have walked out of the BJP, reinforcing the notion that the party is unable to keep its ‘backward’ flock together.
Public perception apart, the desertion of OBC leaders has dented the much-touted social engineering edifice of the BJP which enabled it to project itself as an ‘umbrella party’ and make strides in the 2014 and 2017 assembly polls.
Then, the BJP had accused the SP of being an exclusive preserve of the Yadav community and this campaign had helped wean away the voter belonging to other backward communities. The consolidation of the non-Yadav OBC votes had played a big role in the bumper victory of the BJP in the ensuing polls.
All the three ministers and legislators who have resigned from the BJP in the last few days have accused the latter of neglecting the OBCs and the Dalits. These leaders have claimed that despite repeated requests the BJP top bosses did not pay attention to the genuine problems of reservation, oppression and unemployment, peculiar to the OBCs.
According to SP leaders, more OBC legislators might leave the BJP in the days to come. The backward communities were clearly aligning behind Akhilesh Yadav; to what extent they will help the SP corner the non-Yadav OBC vote remains to be seen.
Resentment among Brahmins
The Brahmin community too is sulking over the dominance of the Thakurs. On Thursday, a prominent Brahmin leader and legislator from Lakhimpur district, Bala Prasad Awasthi, resigned from the BJP alleging that they are not comfortable with the saffron party. He said that they were now looking at Akhilesh Yadav as an alternative. With Mayawati’s BSP sticking to the periphery and the Congress party yet to come into its own, despite Priyanka Gandhi’s efforts, the Brahmins are strapped for choice. Perforce, the voter may settle for the SP.
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