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The great assembly gameplan

How the SP, BSP, BJP and Congress are tweaking their strategies for the 2012 UP polls. Sunita Aron writes.

india Updated: Nov 27, 2011 02:40 IST
Sunita Aron
Sunita Aron
Hindustan Times

Samajwadi Party: Woo back Muslims
Its main challenge is to win back the support of Muslims and take steps to correct its public image of a party that promotes hooliganism. They have even set up a 24-hour call-centre where people can complain against extortion and rowdy behaviour of workers.

The party dumped Kalyan Singh, infamous for the Babri demolition and embraced Azam Khan who quit the party in protest against a pact with Kalyan. Mulayam has been meeting the Muslim intelligentsia. However the SP's trump card is the projection of Akhilesh Yadav as the party's youthful new face.

BSP: Federalism and populism package
Mayawati has trumped the opposition by moving a resolution dividing the state into four parts. Although a split UP doesn't strike an emotional chord, she hopes to gain in Bundelkhand and Poorvanchal.

The party is banking on the Dalit-Brahmin combination and populist steps like distribution of bicycles to girl students and houses under the Kanshi Ram Awas Yojana. Mayawati could spring up more surprises — such as a quota for the minorities.

With a base vote of 15 to 20 % her caste calculations and booth management are the envy of many.

BJP: Resurrection of Brahmin votes
The Bharatiya Janata Party’s plan to mend ties across castes is best manifested in the panel of leaders projected during the party’s campaign— Rajnath Singh (a Rajput), Kalraj Mishra (Brahmin), Uma Bharti (Lodh). Taking a leaf out of Nitish Kumar’s book in Bihar, the party is trying to woo the upper castes as well as the most backward castes.

They are also trying to garner anti-Mayawati votes by tom-tomming their decision of not supporting the BSP government after the elections.

The plan is to back on anti-incumbency and get the disgruntled Brahmin supporters back

Congress: Betting on Rahul, development
Once again, the Congress is pinning its hopes on its young leader Rahul Gandhi campaigning aggressively against Mayawati's ‘misrule’. Besides exposing the government at public rallies, the Congress, too, is trying to appease Brahmins and the most backward castes. The party has almost sealed a pre-poll pact with Choudhary Ajit Singh.

The state leadership realises that Muslims, howsoever sympathetic towards the party, would not ride a losing horse. So, they are flaunting the development card across castes.

First Published: Nov 27, 2011 02:39 IST