Anupriya Patel wants more OBC political representation

UP Polls: Anupriya Patel seeks more political representation for OBCs to ensure 'social justice'

The Mirzapur MP said the NDA enjoys good rapport among this section of the society as Modi government's schemes are pro-poor

Union Minister of Commerce and Industry of India Anupriya Patel. Credit: PTI Photo

Political history clearly shows that the party or alliance that gets the OBC support comes to power in Uttar Pradesh, BJP ally and Apna Dal (S) chief Anupriya Patel has said, pitching for more political representation to the community in the state.

Confident of the BJP-led NDA again forming the government in the politically most crucial state of the country, Patel said for social justice to prevail it is important that the other backward classes (OBCs) get more political representation.

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In an interview to PTI, Patel, also a Union Minister, was all praise for senior BJP leader and Union Home Minister Amit Shah, saying the caste equation he shaped led the NDA to massive victories in three back to back elections.

"Amit Shah ji worked very beautifully in Uttar Pradesh by forming a bouquet of castes by giving all castes their due place, especially the OBCs," she said.

The Apna Dal (S) had won nine seats in the 2017 assembly polls. The party has contested the three elections in alliance with the BJP.

According to her, the NDA enjoys "a very good position" among electors in Uttar Pradesh. "And I am hopeful that we will again form the government with absolute majority," Patel said, underlining that the alliance should continue with balancing its caste arithmetic in the state.

Advocating for more tickets to OBC candidates, Patel said, "If you look at the history of political parties’ electoral performance and government formation in Uttar Pradesh, whichever way the OBCs have tilted that party and the alliance came to power in the state."

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Patel said she and her party have been rooting for giving more political representation for the OBCs and Prime Minister Narendra Modi has always been "very sensitive towards the marginalised sections of the society".

"If you really want social justice to prevail, OBCs should have more and more representation, especially in Uttar Pradesh where they constitute the largest chunk of the population," she said.

Optimistic about getting support of the backward community in the upcoming assembly polls, the Mirzapur MP said the NDA enjoys good rapport among this section of the society as Modi government's schemes are pro-poor and aimed at helping the marganlised sections.

Prime Minister Modi has also been always sensitive about the aspirations and needs of the backwards, she said, adding it was visible when he ensured OBC quota in the all-India category of the NEET medical examination.

Talking about the seat-sharing arrangement with the BJP, Patel said she cannot quote a number just now, but added the two parties are working together in alliance and talks are underway.

"The spirits of both parties are high, and both allies are working with a positive frame of mind and in a very cooperative mood. Soon we will announce our seat sharing agreement," she said.

Patel, who is from the Kurmi OBC caste, has also been advocating for caste-based census, an issue the BJP has more or less remained silent on.

With assembly polls nearing, all major political parties in Uttar Pradesh have hit the battleground running and are leaving no stone unturned to woo OBC voters as they account for more than 40 per cent of the state's total population.

The consolidation of non-Yadav OBCs, attributed as the key factor by political observers for the BJP’s success in the three back-to-back polls in Uttar Pradesh – Lok Sabha elections 2014 and 2019, and the assembly elections in 2017.

Yadavs, which are the largest chunk of OBCs votes, usually side with the Samajwadi Party, as its top brass hails from the same caste.

More than 100 BJP MLAs are from the OBC community, one-third of its total strength in the 403-member Uttar Pradesh assembly.

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