Brahmins in demand as parties gear up for elections in UP

| | Lucknow
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Brahmins in demand as parties gear up for elections in UP

Monday, 26 July 2021 | Biswajeet Banerjee | Lucknow


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With assembly elections just six months away, political activities have intensified with Brahmins being the fulcrum of all political discussions as there is a belief in Uttar Pradesh politics that the party which the Brahmins support forms government in this state.
In 2007, the Brahmin-Dalit combination catapulted Mayawati to power while in 2012, Brahmins were again in the centre stage in ensuring victory for Akhilesh Yadav when this upper caste combined with Backwards to support the Samajwadi Party. In 2017, Brahmins voted en bloc for Bharatiya Janata Party and this resulted in an astounding victory for the saffron party when it won over 325 seats in the 403-seat UP Vidhan Sabha.
The political parties have started sounding the poll bugle. Bahujan Samaj Party is the first party to get out of the starting block by holding a Brahmin sammelan in Ayodhya on Friday. Though the party has named the meeting as Prabuddh Varg (intellectual class) meeting to escape Election Commission norms, it was totally a Brahmin sammelan addressed by BSP general secretary and parliamentarian Satish Chandra Mishra.
Samajwadi Party president Akhilesh Yadav has also called a meeting of the Brahmin leaders of the party next week while a senior SP leader, Manoj Pandey, declared on Sunday that president of Uttar Pradesh Brahmin Sabha had called the Yogi Adityanath government as anti-Brahmin. He even claimed that Brahmins were better off during Akhilesh’s regime.
“Politics is the art of giving messages. By holding these meeting the BSP and the SP are trying to send the message to Brahmins that they are eager to revive their old social engineering formula by stitching an alliance between the Dalits and the Brahmins in the case of BSP and Brahmin-Backwards in the case of Samajwadi Party,” said Dr Nomita P Kumar from the Giri Institute of Development Studies here.
After the Ayodhya meeting, the BSP held similar meetings in Ambedkar Nagar on July 24 and 25, and will be holding such meetings in Allahabad on July 26, in Kaushambi on July 27, in Pratapgarh on July 28 and in Sultanpur on July 29.
These sammelans are a well thought strategy of the party because there is a feeling among the masses that this Yogi government is anti-Brahmin and pro-Thakur. Mayawati tried to make use of this sentiment when she claimed that Brahmins were being harassed in the present BJP regime and in the 2022 assembly polls the Brahmin would vote against the BJP.
The BJP has tried to set the house in order by roping in Jitin Prasada, a Brahmin, from Congress. The party also made Ajay Singh Teni, a minister in the Modi cabinet recently. There is speculation that a cabinet reshuffle will be carried out by the Yogi government with an eye on Brahmins.
In the 2017 assembly polls, 56 seats in the state were won by Brahmin candidates out of whom 46 were BJP candidates. In the Yogi government eight Brahmins have been inducted in the Cabinet but only Dr Dinesh Sharma, the Deputy Chief Minister, and Energy Minister Shrikant Sharma were given prominent portfolios.
The Brahmins account for 10 per cent of the votes in the state but they play a decisive role in UP politics. It is believed that they can influence elections on their own in about 100 constituencies but with a combination with other castes like Dalits and backwards, the upper caste can influence elections in 223 seats.
The other political parties like BJP, Congress and SP know the importance of Brahmins and therefore are also planning to hold meetings in districts with focus on Brahmins. The winning formula is simple: whosoever will woo Brahmins better will win Uttar Pradesh.

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