The BJP has decided to field fiery sanyasin and OBC-Lodh leader Uma Bharti from the Charkhari seat in UP’s Bundelkhand region. It has, however, left the question of CM candidate open, saying the party will go to polls collectively.
Kalraj Mishra, a Brahmin, Rajnath Singh, a Thakur, and Bharti, an OBC, will be the props to hold together an upper caste-OBC social coalition the party is trying to build in the state.
The widely-anticipated move is being seen as part of the party’s OBC outreach in UP, and also signals the clawing back of Bharti — who had been expelled in 2005 for indiscipline — to a more crucial position in the BJP’s scheme of things.
The fact that party president Nitin Gadkari himself made the announcement is being seen as an indicator of Bharti’s importance this time around.
What has gone in her favour is that the party is trying hard to attract Hindu OBCs this time to take advantage of any latent unease among UP’s 40% Hindu OBC’s as a result of 4.5% of their central quota pie being sliced off to backward minorities.
Bharti, a section of the party feels, suits BJP’s plans uniquely: she is a known Hindutva face once popular even among upper castes and a strong votary of backward caste politics.
The BJP hopes to add OBCs to its traditional upper caste base to revive its sagging fortunes in the state. In the 1990s the BJP’s huge clout coincided with the centrality of Lodh leader Kalyan Singh, who was UP CM when the Babri mosque was brought down in 1992.