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Now, parties try to rope in voters on caste lines

WITH TWO days left for the campaigning to end, ideological fight has taken a backseat. Instead, political parties have now begun wooing voters on castes lines. Almost every party is trying to gain an edge over rivals by riding the caste bandwagon.

india Updated: Oct 27, 2006 16:20 IST
Ranjan

WITH TWO days left for the campaigning to end, ideological fight has taken a backseat. Instead, political parties have now begun wooing voters on castes lines. Almost every party is trying to gain an edge over rivals by riding the caste bandwagon.

If one party is using services of senior party leaders to woo members of one community, other is trying to make most of the festivals to rope in voters. In the process, of course, parties are making accusations and counter-accusations.

Like, the BJP has alleged that Raghunandan Sharma, the Bharatiya Janshakti candidate for Vidisha, is getting portraits of Lord Parashuram, yellow colour rice and ‘janeu’ (sacred thread) distributed among Brahmin voters. The exercise, the BJP alleges, is to unite them against BJP candidate Rampal Singh and Congress candidate Rajshree Singh.

Not to be outdone, the BJP has swung into action and is convening meetings of Brahmin community with senior BJP leader Kailash Joshi and Minister Laxmikant Sharma. The party is trying to woo Rajput, Raghuvanshi, Kirar and SC, ST voters by sending leaders of particular castes to the constituency to motivate the voters.

The Congress is not lagging behind and is following suit. Annakut Mahotsav came as a godsend opportunity to unite members of communities who celebrate the occasion.

Babulal Tamrakar, the BJP leader from Vidisha, alleged that the BJ was using dishonest means like distribution of Lord Parashuram portraits to woo the voters. But, he said, his party would not lodge a complaint to the Election Commission. The latter should take suo moto notice of the same, he said.  BJ candidate Raghunandan Sharma dismissed the charges against him as scandalous.

He said he had seen the portraits only. Claiming that he had nothing to do with the portraits, he said they  were being distributed by Parashuram Samiti. But the BJP had no moral right to level charges against him, for the BJP’s Kailash Joshi and Laxmikant Sharma held meetings of Brahmin Samaj, Sharma said.

He said he did not believe in gimmicks as it was a fight between the public of Vidisha and the BJP. PWD minister Kailash Vijayvargiya, in charge of BJP affairs in the Vidisha assembly segment,  said the party did not believe in caste politics. The party was going to achieve victory with a huge margin.

In Bada Malehra, the picture is no different. The Congress, the BJP and the BJ are playing caste cards to unite the voters of different castes and communities. If the BJP is banking on its candidate Kapurchand Ghuvara’s mass base in Jain community, Congress candidate Jagdish Shukla is banking on Brahmin, SC, ST voters to win the assembly by-poll. The BJ candidate, Rekha Yadav, wants to cash in on Yadav-Lodh factor.