U.P: Glaring polarization bid
Mandal and Kamandal cards (caste and communal) are being aggressively played by political parties in remaining 89 assembly seats of eastern UP. Stakes are very high for senior politicians like PM Narendra Modi, Mayawati of BSP and SP-Congress alliance by chief minister Akhilesh Yadav and Rahul Gandhi. Never before in independent India, any prime minister devoted so much so time in any assembly polls as PM Modi is doing in UP.
Political observers feel that if BJP is not able to win Punjab and UP, then BJP leaders would start questioning leadership of Mr Narendra Modi. PM Modi himself has addressed so many rallies in eastern UP and is scheduled to spend three days in and round his lok Sabha constituency Varanasi. He will also lead road show on March 4 at Varanasi.
BJP has mobilized all resources to win the maximum seats from eastern UP. RSS and other frontal organizations are also camping in all the districts of eastern UP to mobilize support for BJP and alliance partners. All the ministers from union Ministry and BJP ruled states are also camping and addressing smaller meetings from village to district headquarters. BJP is pursuing caste politics through alliance with Apna Dal for kurmi votes and Bhartiya Samaj Party of Om Prakash Rajbhar Bharat Samajhar to get non-Yadav OBC votes.
It would be worth mentioning here that BJP has given 11 seats to Apna Dal and eight seats to Om Prakash Rajbhar for his party. BJP is also pursuing aggressive kamandal card in eastern UP led by Mahant Aditya Nath of Gorakhpeeth in Gorakhpur and sitting MP. Mahant Aditya Nath who has ambition to become CM of UP is also talking about Ram Temple in Ayodhya if BJP was voted to power and and helping polarization through his speeches.
BJP leaders are repeating the words ‘kabristan’ and samsan used by PM Narendra Modi in his speech recently. The opposition leaders are also replying in the same tone to help the polarization in eastern UP. Mahant Aditya Nath has Hindu Yuwa Vahini having members in almost all the districts of eastern UP and they are also working under the directive of Mahant Adityanath.
BSP is also working on aggressive card of muslim and dalits in this region while enjoying the support of 20 per cent of dalits. The important factor for Mayawati is merger of Quami Ekta Dal of mafia don turned politician Mukhtar Ansari who is contesting alongwith his brother and son on BSP ticket. It may be mentioned that Akhilesh had refused to have any connection with Quami Ekta Dal which resulted in rift in the party and Mulayam Singh Yadav family.
It may be mentioned here that Quami Ekta Dal of Mukhtar Ansari commands influence in several districts in and around Varanasi including Azamgarh, Mau and Ghosi. So much so Mayawati campaigned for the members of Mukhtar Ansari family. While on one hand Mayawati is banking on her social engineering but also banking on influence of Mukhtar Ansari and his family in this region. That is why BSP has fielded a large number of muslim candidates in this region. In order to win over support of most backward castes, Mayawati has handed over important task to her trusted leader like Ram Achal Rajbhar, Sukhdev Rajbhar and Ram Kumar Kureel.
So BSP is banking on dalit, muslim OBC and MBC votes beside support from senior leaders like Vijay Mishra, Ambika Choudhry and Narad Rai who joined from Samajwadi Party when they were denied tickets.
Samajwadi party-Congress alliance is heavily banking on the performance of Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav and caste combination of backwards and muslims. SP has fielded a large number of muslims in this region and is also banking on support from Brahmin and other upper caste due to alliance with Congress.
Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav and Rahul Gandhi have road show in Varanasi on March 4 and joint rallies in several parts of eastern UP. Chief minister Akhilesh Yadav is replying to charges made by PM Narendra Modi and BJP national president Amit Shah. He has even dared to ask PM for debate with him regarding their performances in UP in their tenure. Political observers feel that communal and caste politics has forced the development agenda on the back burner.
Significantly the opposition is making note-bandi as a major issue while BJP leaders are very shy in talking about it realizing the adverse impact it had on the economy of eastern UP which rendered thousands without jobs.
An interesting aspect of the last two phases is participation of mafia turned politicians from different political parties. BSP tops the list of giving tickets to maximum number of criminals and crorepatis followed by BJP and then Samajwadi Party. (IPA)