Gadkari’s UP action plan: Surveys, rallies and Uma
Seven election surveys, beginning of state-wide rallies a year before polls, and the likely return of Uma Bharti: these are the strategies BJP president Nitin Gadkari has put in place to make the party improve its performance in Uttar Pradesh.delhi Updated: May 02, 2011 00:08 IST
Seven election surveys, beginning of state-wide rallies a year before polls, and the likely return of Uma Bharti: these are the strategies BJP president Nitin Gadkari has put in place to make the party improve its performance in Uttar Pradesh.
The latest poll survey commissioned by Gadkari shows the BJP winning 23 % vote in UP, ahead of the Congress which is at 15 %. The BSP and SP are tied at 25 % each.
Before the Bihar polls, Gadkari’s UP survey showed the BSP at 31 %, SP at 27 %, Congress at 23 % and BJP last at 19%. This makes the party believe that post-Bihar — and after a spate of scams at the centre — the UP upper castes are returning to the BJP instead of the Congress, which has “lost steam”.
CSDS data say the BSP — which has 21 % Dalit vote in the state as its core base — got 17% of the Brahmin vote (Brahmins reportedly constitute 10 % of UP’s population) in 2007, an 11 percentage point jump from 2002. The BJP hopes that Kalraj Mishra’s being its campaign in-charge, which many see as identical with his being CM candidate, will win this vote back.
“The upper castes will go either to us or the Congress, as they want Mayawati out. This vote is our best bet,” said a BJP leader. Upper castes constitute 20 % of UP’s population.
Informed sources say Gadkari has made up his mind to bring fiery Sanyasin and Bundelkhand Lodh leader Uma Bharti back to the BJP very soon, and will utilize her services in UP. This is despite opposition to her return from sections of the central and MP leadership of the party.
Through her, the BJP would try to energise two constituencies: the non-Yadav OBCs and the pro-Hindutva voices. It was the upper caste and non-Yadav OBC combination that had seen the BJP rise in UP under Kalyan Singh two decades back.
True, the BJP drew impressive crowds in Ayodhya and Agra last week, but the task is uphill.
One, the party has progressively seen its core upper caste vote slip away, and the Congress is again a rival claimant to it after two decades. Moreover, weaning away sections of Thakurs from SP and Brahmins from BJP is essential for the BJP.
Second, the return of OBC sections requires an OBC face like Bharti, whose reentry —though electorally useful – could make some within the party unhappy.