Scheduled Caste MPs of BJP faces denial of ticket for 2019 Lok Sabha elections
Scheduled Caste MPs of the BJP, who dared to differ with the party over issues pertaining the community recently, face the prospect of denial of ticket for the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. Even if they are renominated by the party, their winnibility potential is bound to dip south due to anti-incumbency and the Samajwadi Party and Bahujan Samaj Party alliance.
Five Dalit VJP MPs - Savitri Bai Phoole, Ashok Dohrey, Yashwant Singh, Chhotelal Kaharwar and Udit Raj have gone on record to express their anger over the party’s alleged bias against the community. They all are first term MPs and joined the BJP in the run-up to 2014 Lok Sabha election after having spent times in rival parties.
Except Udit Raj, the other four Dalit MPs who have spoken out against the BJP are from Uttar Pradesh, where the BJP won 71 of the 80 seats in 2014. Three of the four constituencies - Bahraich, Nagina and Robertsganj, that they represent have over 50 per cent combined Dalit-Muslim votes. Though Uditraj is an MP from Delhi, he is also a native of UP.
Bahraich MP Savitri Bai Phoole, Etawah MP Ashok Dohrey and Nagina (Bijnore) MP Yashwant Singh were with the BSP before joining the BJP ahead of the last Lok Sabha polls. Similarly, Chhotelal Kharwar joined the BJP in 2014 and won from Robertsganj, riding the crest of Modi wave and split of opposition votes. Udit Raj ran Indian Justice Party after resigning from Indian Revenue Service in 2003 and was a fierce critic of the RSS and the BJP before becoming a winning candidate of the party from North-West Delhi constituency in 2014.
The SP-BSP alliance in the recent Lok Sabha bypolls has put a question mark on their winnability on BJP ticket. At Etawah, Yadavs constitute over 30 per cent of voters. In all four segments, the BJP’s share of votes - both in 2014 Lok Sabha elections and 2017 Assembly polls - was less than the combined SP-BSP numbers. There is another election data that might have unnerved these MPs from Uttar Pradesh. The NDA (BJP plus Apna Dal) had won 73 seats from Uttar Pradesh in 2014. Dalits, Yadavs and Muslims were the dominant voters and they accounted for more than 40 per cent of the votes polled on 44 of the NDA’s 73 seats. On 37 of these seats, the SP-BSP combine could have won on the basis of votes they polled separately. Had the Congress-SP-BSP contested together, they could have bagged 51 of the 73 NDA seats in 2014. A similar voting pattern was observed in 2017 Assembly polls. The protests against the BJP on Dalits issue have gained momentum after the party’s twin losses in Lok Sabha bypolls in Uttar Pradesh. BJP sources said that the dissidence is likely to gain momentum if the BJP loses Karnataka Assembly elections. Speculation is rife that Phoole, Dohrey and Singh may go back to the BSP ahead of 2019 Lok Sabha elections and their ‘revolt’ against the BJP might be a tactical move. Sources said Chhotelal Kharwar is said to be weighing his options.
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