BJP's OBC outreach to counter Oppn alliance plans

BJP's OBC outreach to counter Oppn alliance plans

The BJP is banking heavily on sub-categorisation of Other Backward Classes (OBCs).

Sensing that an Opposition in alliance mode could pose difficulties during Lok Sabha polls 2019, the BJP has planned a massive outreach to Other Backward Classes (OBC).

The ruling party at the Centre held a brainstorming session on Monday to chalk out plans for making inroads into the community, which already has powerful non-BJP regional satraps, particularly in the Hindi heartland.

Issues were flagged at a training session for OBC leaders in Delhi on Monday. It was felt the party has the potential to widen its vote base.

It was also decided that the party will hold workshops for OBC leaders at three levels -national, state and divisional. At the national level, the workshop could be attended by BJP chief Amit Shah.

There are indications that the party will also harness the Extremely Backward Class (EBC) origin of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, while being careful not to go overboard lest it loses its strong support base among the forward  castes.

Party general secretary Muralidhar Rao, Union minister Santosh Gangwar and BJP OBC Morcha chairman Dara Singh Chauhan addressed 70 odd backward class leaders from the states as they discussed the strategy.

The BJP is banking heavily on sub-categorisation of Other Backward Classes (OBCs). The Centre has set up a committee, which will submit its report after June 31.

There is a view in the BJP that sub-categorisation of OBCs, in vogue in South India, could provide an opportunity for  mobilisation of OBCs in favour of the party in North India.

The BJP has benefitted substantially by reaching out to EBCs - non-Yadavs in Uttar Pradesh and non-Kurubas in Karnataka.

In Uttar Pradesh in particular, where the BJP had won 71 and the NDA 73 out of 80 Lok Sabha seats in 2014 general elections, there are now worries that the coming together of the SP, BSP, RLD and the Congress will cost the saffron party dearly.

OBCs constitute around 45% population of Uttar Pradesh, of whom majority are non-Yadavs. While the Samajwadi Party has been the preferred party of Yadavs in Uttar Pradesh, other OBCs have off late shown an inclination towards the BJP.