Uttar Pradesh: BJP Bolsters Support Base In Purvanchal With Induction Of Om Prakash Rajbhar & Dara Singh Chauhan In Ministry

Uttar Pradesh: BJP Bolsters Support Base In Purvanchal With Induction Of Om Prakash Rajbhar & Dara Singh Chauhan In Ministry

Both leaders, formerly aligned with the SP, rejoined BJP after the Samajwadi Party failed to form government after the 2022 assembly elections.

BISWAJEET BANERJEEUpdated: Wednesday, March 06, 2024, 06:26 PM IST
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In a strategic move aimed at consolidating support in Purvanchal, two prominent leaders having influence among voters of their castes, Om Prakash Rajbhar and Dara Singh Chauhan, were inducted into the Yogi cabinet on Tuesday as their inclusion is poised to bolster BJP's electoral prospects in the region.

Both leaders, formerly aligned with the SP, rejoined BJP after the Samajwadi Party failed to form government after the 2022 assembly elections. With a significant following among backward castes, Rajbhar and Chauhan are expected to enhance BJP's vote bank, a move perceived as a strategic maneuver against the PDA call of the Samajwadi Party national president Akhilesh Yadav.

Despite BJP's sweeping victory in 2019, Purvanchal or eastern Uttar Pradesh remained a region where BJP experienced setbacks, losing several seats by narrow margins. Recognising the importance of maintaining a strong support base, BJP aims to fortify its position by retaining leaders with significant caste-based influence.

Purvanchal's political landscape is often characterized by caste dynamics, where victory hinges on alliances with leaders representing dominant castes. Despite development initiatives and appeals to nationalism, victory historically favored parties with entrenched caste-based leadership. The impact of caste alliances was evident in BJP's losses in Purvanchal following the SP-BSP alliance in 2019.

Support Base of SBSP

In Uttar Pradesh, the Rajbhar community comprises 12 percent of the population, with their presence particularly pronounced in Purvanchal, ranging from 12 to 22 percent of voters. Rajbhar voters wield significant influence in over two dozen Lok Sabha seats in Purvanchal, often determining electoral outcomes. BJP's efforts to appeal to Rajbhar voters underscore its strategy to secure electoral victories in the region.

Om Prakash Rajbhar's Suheldeo Bharatiya Samaj Party’s (SBSP) influence was palpable in 16 Lok Sabha seats in Purvanchal during the 2019 elections. SBSP garnered substantial votes, ranging from 30,000 to 40,000, across various constituencies. Notable vote counts were recorded in Ghazipur, Ballia, Salempur, Ghosi, Lalganj, Chandauli, Azamgarh, and Basti, highlighting the significance of Rajbhar voters in Purvanchal.

Chauhan Voters' Support Base in Purvanchal

According to CSDS, the Kumhar/Prajapati-Chauhan community holds a 3 percent stake in Uttar Pradesh, with a considerable presence in Purvanchal. Chauhan voters wield influence in eight Lok Sabha seats and approximately 35 assembly constituencies in the region, making them pivotal in determining electoral outcomes.

The significance of Rajbhar and Chauhan voters underscores BJP's efforts to secure their support through ministerial appointments, recognizing their pivotal role in electoral victories. Therefore, Dara Singh Chauhan, a loni (backward) by caste was enticed to join the ruling alliance.

Challenges for BJP in Purvanchal

Despite BJP's dominance nationally, its electoral performance in Purvanchal has been challenged by caste-based politics and formidable opponents. The party's defeat in Ghazipur, Azamgarh, Ghosi, Lalganj, and other constituencies underscores the need for strategic alliances and caste-based outreach efforts.

As BJP gears up for the 2024 Lok Sabha elections, its focus on consolidating support in Purvanchal reflects its determination to secure a decisive victory. With the appointment of leaders like Rajbhar and Chauhan, BJP aims to navigate the complex caste dynamics of the region and emerge victorious in the upcoming electoral battles.

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