With barely a month remaining for the assembly elections, the governing Bharatiya Janata Party has faced a set of unprecedented events. As many as eleven legislators, including three sitting ministers, resigned accusing the party of ignoring the needs of the marginalised community. This has turned the tables for Yogi Adityanath who has been confident of carving a name for himself by being the only leader elected consecutively for two terms in 35 years.
Psephologists and analysts are looking at the long term implications of this move, but they are sure that this will have a certain impact on the upcoming elections.
One of the significant factors is the caste of the MLAs who have resigned. The section which has put BJP in jeopardy belongs to the non-Yadav Other Backward Classes of U.P who are around 30 per cent of the voter base. This section of the population in BJP was tired of Samajwadi Party and Bahujan Samajwadi Party the prominent regional parties of this area, favouring or representing the Yadav community alienating theirs. Bharatiya Janata Party used this anger to persuade them to join BJP in 2017.
Yogi Aditynath is a recent speech mentioned about the elections is about 80-20, it conveyed that he has the consolidated voted of Hindu and the remaining 20 per cent consisting of minority religion doesn’t matter. One crucial factor Yogi convinently forgot that the remaining 80 per cent was and never will beone consolidated faction. With so many castes and subcastes aiming for its identity, its mammoth task, and projecting hate towards Muslims will not divert the issue.
A post-poll data from the National Election Study 2019 by CSDS-Lokniti shows that, Yogi Adityanath of 2017 was well aware of these dynamics. In the 2017 elections, when the BJP won a three-fourths majority in the state, SP and BSP had a 44 per cent vote share which was greater than the BJP’s 40 per cent. BJP architected its victory by consolidating the support of everyone other than the core social base of the SP and BSP. The leaders who are resigning represent that section.
Why did they resign?
Uttar Pradesh is a state that witnessed an ideological representation of the alliance between Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh(RSS and BJP). Appointing a monk in a saffron robe unabashedly talking about Hindu-Supremacy was a huge pivot for the political doscourse in India. The building of temples spending hundreds of crores can be seen as it establishing itself more of a religious party than believing in social reform of any sort.
This hit the section of the OBC community as a move that ignores their demands.
In their resignation letters, they echoed that the BJP didn’t give the marginalised communities the respect it had promised. Swami Prasad Maurya, the first to resign, in his resignation didn’t mince words, “gross neglect towards Dalits, backward castes, farmers, unemployed youth and medium and small traders” Maurya wrote in his resignation.
He also included, “I fulfilled my responsibilities despite adverse circumstances and ideology”
MLA from Tindwari in Banda district, Brajesh Prajapati, who resigned in support of Maurya lamented on the same lines. “In the five years of the BJP rule, representatives from Dalit, backward caste and minority communities were given no importance and didn’t get the respect they deserved,” his letter read.
Mauryas is a sub-caste under the Kushwaha co
mmunity. They are arguably the largest community after Yadavs, Kurmis and Lodhs. They have their influence majorly in the east U.P districts like Kushinagar, Siddnarthnagar and Maharajganj. This section had voted for BJP last term.
Meanwhile, the impact of this political churning is quite visible in Uttar Pradesh. On one hand this diversion has bought back the Samajwadi Party fiercely into the political battle giving them certain confidence, on the other BJP has been visiting Dalit households in an atempt to steer away from the image crisis they are going through.