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All parties chase Brahmin vote

Three main parties of UP - the BSP, Congress and BJP - are jostling with each other for the 5% Brahmin vote in the state. It is because the community has played a strong role in opinion making. Sunita Aron reports.

lucknow Updated: Nov 15, 2011 14:45 IST
Sunita Aron

Three main parties of UP - the BSP, Congress and BJP - are jostling with each other for the 5% Brahmin vote in the state. It is because the community has played a strong role in opinion making.

Chief minister Mayawati's mentor, the late Kanshi Ram, had described Uttar Pradesh as the laboratory of the Bahujan Samaj Party. And in 2007, the lab had churned out a caste formula that had given her an absolute majority.

Nearly five years later, amid speculation that 2012 assembly elections may give a fractured verdict, the Bahujan Samaj Party has once again raised the slogan, 'Tilak Lagao Haathi Par, Baki Sab Baisakhi Par' and 'Brahmin Shankh Bajayega, Haathi Barta Jaayega.'

And not lagging behind are other political parties. Instead, there is a scramble for Brahmin votes, which constitute 5% of the vote bank.

Harvansh Dixit, principal of the Maharaja Harish Chandra Post-Graduate Institute, Moradabad, explains: "Brahmins have traditionally played an important role as opinion makers across the country. Temperamentally they don't vote en bloc. And now all political parties are trying to woo (them) as a vacuum has been left after former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee (retired) from active politics."

While the Congress is trying to reconstruct its Dalit-Brahmin-Muslim votebank, the BJP feels it's time it lured back the upper-caste and most-backward-caste votes under the leadership of Rajnath Singh, a Rajput, who has always advocated quota within the OBC quota for the most backward castes, Kalraj Mishra, a Brahmin, and Uma Bharti, a Lodh.

For Mayawati, Brahmins are her main hope because she has no strong claim to either the Rajput or the OBC vote. The Muslims too are inclined towards the Congress and SP.

The CM is hoping that the Brahmins will not desert her. "We have punctured the opposition's propaganda that we are a Dalit-based party by giving due representation to the Brahmins in the council of ministers as well as the bureaucrats in postings."

She has now played the quota card by demanding reservation for the upper-caste poor.