Akhilesh looks to do a BJP to get caste equations right

Akhilesh Yadav looks to do a BJP to get caste equations right to win UP

Akhilesh has entered into electoral alliances with the parties that have influence over voters from castes other than the 'Yadavs'

SP President Akhilesh Yadav. Credit: PTI Photo

Nurturing dreams to return to power in the forthcoming assembly polls in Uttar Pradesh, about five months away, Samajwadi Party (SP) president Akhilesh Yadav appears to have taken a leaf out of the BJP's book by looking to get the caste equations right ahead of the elections to counter the saffron party in the state.

Apparently mindful of BJP's electoral strategy which aims at winning over 'non-Yadav' OBCs and 'non-jatav' dalit voters to remain invincible in an electoral battle, Akhilesh, whose party banks mainly on the support of the 'Yadavs' and Muslims, has entered into electoral alliances with the parties that have influence over voters from castes other than the 'Yadavs'.

Akhilesh, accordingly, has allied with the Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD), which has a sway over the powerful and electorally influential 'Jat' community in the western UP region. The ongoing farmers' agitation in protest against the farm laws has ignited RLD's electoral hopes as a large number of farmer leaders hailed from the 'jat' community. The Bhartiya Kisan Union (BKU), which has been spearheading the farmers' agitation in UP, has already declared that it will oppose the BJP in the next assembly polls.

Similarly, in a bid to expand his support base, the SP president has also roped in the Suheldev Bhartiya Samaj Party (SBSP), which commands considerable influence over the 'Rajbhar' (an OBC) community, which can play a crucial role in deciding the outcome of the polls on around three dozen seats, mainly in the eastern UP districts of Azamgarh, Ghazipur, Mau, Ballia, Varanasi and Jaunpur.

Also read: Dalit, backwards should not expect anything from Samajwadi Party, says Mayawati

Interestingly, the SBSP had allied with the BJP in the 2017 assembly elections in the state and its nominees had emerged victorious on four seats.

Akhilesh has also said that his party will accommodate Mahan Dal, another caste-based outfit, which is considered to have influence over OBC communities like 'Mauryas, Shakyas' and 'Sainis'. These communities are in sizable strength in pockets in eastern and central UP regions.

According to sources in the SP, some other smaller caste-based outfits may also join hands with the SP in the days to come.

''We can not defeat the BJP with the support of Yadavs and Muslims alone.....we need support of other OBCs also....alliances with RLD, SBSP and Mahan Dal will enable us to effectively counter the BJP,'' said a senior SP leader while speaking to DH on Monday.

It is believed that BJP's votes had risen sharply to around 40 per cent in the 2017 UP assembly polls primarily owing to the support of these smaller caste-based outfits.

''Apparently, Akhilesh is trying to do what the BJP had done in 2017 to defeat  the saffron party,'' remarked a Lucknow-based media analyst.

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