After realising that “Ram” is no more a vote catching symbol for it, the BJP top leadership is now focusing on development and readjusting caste combination in Uttar Pradesh where Assembly polls are scheduled for next year. Uma Bharti, a known Hindutva icon who was brought back in the party recently, is also highlighting the Mayawati government’s failure to bring down crime and corruption level and neglecting development schemes. Ms Bharti, who had embarked on a “sampark yatra” in the poll-bound state, is also stressing on growth patterns in the BJP and NDA-ruled states.
The party, sources said, has now realised that electoral behaviour is changing and taking up development issues will benefit it more than the Ramjanambhoomi issue. Even though the party claimed that it is committed to constructing Ram mandir in Ayodhya, the issue has so far not been raised by any of its leaders in any of the public rallies.
The BJP, which once rose to power in the state on the Ramjanambhoomi issue, is also concentrating on the caste combination factor. The party is also hoping that Ms Bharti, a Lodh leader, will help in garnering OBC vote for the party. Brahmins, Baniya and Thakurs were considered BJP’s traditional vote bank but they have also shifted their loyalties in the last decade. Figures had revealed that party’s vote bank reduced drastically to 17 per cent during 2007 assembly polls from 23 per cent in 2002. The party currently has 50 members in the 403-member state Assembly.
After it was told that brahmins were dominating its state leadership, party named former party chief Rajnath Singh, a Thakur, as the overall incharge of the coming Assembly polls to strike a balance. The party had earlier announced Rajya Sabha MP and vice president Kalraj Mishra, a brahmin, as a head of the election committee. Party’s state unit chief Surya Pratap Shahi is a Bhumihar.
The BJP has also asked its senior leaders, who are addressing rallies in the state, to stress on development and deteriorating law and order situation under the BSP rule. Moreover, the party, sources said, has learnt lessons from its ruled states like Gujarat and Chattisgarh that development as a poll plank can win it more votes than its ideological issues. Asian Age