Political Parties Fighting for Hindu Votes in India's Uttar Pradesh Ahead of State Polls
14:06 GMT 23.07.2021 (Updated: 10:37 GMT 19.07.2022)
Brahmins, the highest-ranking social class among Hindus, are believed to account for around 11 percent of the total population of India's Uttar Pradesh. In the run-up to state polls, opposition parties are highlighting the negligence shown towards them by the ruling BJP, while the latter is countering it by sharing all the initiatives it took.
To win a maximum of votes in the upcoming legislative assembly polls in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, political parties have started to woo various communities.
With the Hindu-inclined Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) set to complete its five-year term in 2022, other parties are now also trying to win over Hindus, especially members of the Brahmin community.
The Four Parties of Uttar Pradesh
The state has three dominant organisations besides the Congress Party: the BJP, the Samajwadi Party (SP), and the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP).
Former state chief and BSP head Mayawati has announced a series of meetings with Brahmins, starting Friday in the state's Ayodhya. The ruling BJP is ensuring that its party office bearers visit prominent temples on the occasion of Guru Purnima, a day dedicated to all spiritual and academic teachers, this Saturday (24 July).
Meanwhile, a trust backed by the Samajwadi Party, the main opposition outfit in the state, has begun the construction of Parshuram temples in each district. Parshuram was a Brahmin saint and believed to have been an incarnation Lord Vishnu, a Hindu God.
Poll strategist Prashant Kishore has suggested that Congress chief Sonia Gandhi will rope in Brahmins to win the Uttar Pradesh legislative polls.
Yet, political analysts believe that despite the efforts of the other parties, the Brahmin community will not desert the BJP.
While talking about Mayawati's strategy, Delhi-based political analyst Vinod Kumar Shukla told Sputnik on Friday: "Mayawati is trying to cash in on the anger of the Brahmins from the BJP as the community is feeling neglected by the BJP, especially State Chief Yogi Adityanath. But this won't benefit Mayawati much".
Shukla feels that the BJP is working on its hardcore Hinduism agenda. "Therefore, the Brahmin community has no other option but to rally behind the BJP", he stated.
The political analyst also said that organising Brahmin meetings is a desperate attempt by Mayawati as her traditional voters - Dalits - will now become divided among other political parties too.
Shukla's statement holds prominence as several regional parties have also forayed into the electoral battleground of the state.
Prominent backward class leader Om Prakash Rajbhar has announced an alliance of 10 regional parties comprised of his own party and prominent Muslim leader Asaduddin Owaisi's All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen.
Apart from this, Chandrashekhar Azad Ravan, the chief of the Bhim Army party, is also active in the state and some Dalit votes might go to him while some percentage of Dalit votes is always inclined towards Congress as well as the BJP.
The Dalit community accounts for around 18-19 percent of the vote bank in the state.
While talking about the inclination of the Brahmin community towards the BJP, Noida-based political expert Alok Kumar Singh told Sputnik that no political, economic, or social crisis has so far dented the 30-year-old consolidation of the state's most prosperous elites behind the BJP.
"The BJP has been contesting elections on the basis of Hinduism. The party under the leadership of Yogi Adityanath in the state has been taking up the activities which boost the sentiments of the Hindus. So, it will be difficult for the other parties to divert Hindu voters from the ruling party", Singh said.
This is backed by the BJP's performance in the 2019 parliamentary elections as well as the 2017 Uttar Pradesh state elections. In both elections, the BJP garnered twice the number of votes of the Brahmin community than any of its nearest competitors.
Amid the efforts of all the political parties to woo different communities via various initiatives, the election battleground in the state is likely to be more interesting.