The BJP is looking to broaden its base among Dalits by making overtures to Ramvilas Paswan of the Lok Janshakti Party in Bihar and bringing into its fold Udit Raj, a Dalit leader from Uttar Pradesh.
These overtures complement the BJP’s attempts to woo Other Backward Castes (OBCs) in both states by projecting its prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi as belonging to the OBC community.
The attempts to woo Dalits and OBCs are not surprising as both are present in sizeable numbers in UP and Bihar that jointly comprise 120 seats of the Lok Sabha’s 543 seats. These states are therefore important for any party aiming to capture the Centre.
If the BJP efforts succeed, it will finally be able to shed its image of being a party of the upper castes.