By Pradeep Kapoor
The powerful Brahmin community, which is believed to play an important role inmoulding public opinion, is being wooed by all political parties for Mission 2022 in a bid to capture power in UP.
With their presence of 11 per cent in the total population of UP, the Brahmin community has played a very dominant role in electoral politics.
BSP national president Mayawati surprised everyone when she recently played the aggressive Brahmin card in the hope of repeating the performance of 2007 when her party came to power on its own and she became chief minister for full five years.
Mayawati announced the plan to hold ‘Brahmin Bhaichara’ meets all over the state to reach out to the community.
BSP launched the Brahmin Bhaichara conference from Ayodhya where Satish Mishra, MP, the party general secretary and the Brahmin face of party, announced that when voted to power his party would construct a big temple of Lord Ram at Ayodhya.
Speaking on the occasion, Satish Mishra said that Brahmins were being targeted under the BJP regime in UP and assured the community of protection. He also promised to take up the case of 17-year old jailed widow Khushi Dubey, who was married to the nephew of gangster Vikas Dubey.
Playing the soft Hindutva card and with an eye on social engineering, Satish Mishra said the combination of 23 per cent Dalits and 13 per cent Brahmins was a winning combination to repeat the 2007 victory.
In the 2007 assembly elections, the social engineering of BSP worked when the party fielded 86 Brahmin candidates out of a total of 186upper caste candidates. The party also coined a new slogan ‘hathi naheen Brahma Vishnu Mahesh hai’. Now it is still to be seen whether BSP will use the same slogan again this time.
Satish Mishra, who is also the national media coordinator of the party, announced a series of Ayodhya -type Brahmin conclaves to reach out to the influential community.
Following the BSP, Samajwadi Party national president Akhilesh Yadav also convened a meeting of important Brahmin leaders and announced district level Brahmin Sammelan from August 22 to interact with the community.
As a part of the outreach to the Brahmin community, the Samajwadi Party has also decided to install a statue of Bhagwan Parsuram in every district. Samajwadi Party had earlier announced plans to install a 108 feet high statue of Bhagwan Parsuram in Lucknow.
SP Brahmin leaders said that party was compiling a list of issues being faced by the Brahmin community and was also collecting details about atrocities against the community in the state.
The party has constituted a committee of senior Brahmin leaders to look into all issues concerning the community. The committee includes former Speaker Mata Prasad Pande and former ministers Manoj Pande, Abhishek Mishra and Tej Narain Pande.
The BJP leadership has realised that the Brahmins were upset in UP and there were allegations from the opposition regarding assault on community member by the administration.
Keeping the unrest in the Brahmin community in mind, the BJP high commanded inducted Brahmin Congress leader Jatin Prasad who was collecting details of atrocities on Brahmins all over the state.
Through his Brahmin Chetna Rath, Jatin Prasad was already in touch with Brahmin community members all over the state and was addressing them. That is why the BJP high command realised the importance that needed to be accorded to the Brahmins in a state which was being ruled by a Thakur CM Yogi Adityanath.
Although the BJP got the maximum support from Brahmins in the 2017 assembly polls, when the party got more than 300 seats, there was under representation of the community in the central cabinet. Only recently Ajay Mishra MP from Kheri was inducted in central ministry in the cabinet expansion.
It may be mentioned here out of 312 BJP MLAs in 2017, as many as 58 were Brahmins.
Meanwhile, BJP is also playing the Hindutva card to woo Brahmins. PM Narendra Modi recently held a meeting for the development of Ayodhya and chief minister Yogi Adityanath recently visited the holy city to monitor the progress of various projects launched in recent months.
Not to be left behind, the Congress party has also announced plans to reach out to Brahmins under the leadership Priyanka Gandhi Vadra. Brahmins, Harijans and Muslims have been the main vote bank of Congress for several decades, but the party lost Brahmins to BJP in the name of Ram Temple at Ayodhya and Muslims to Samajwadi Party in 1990 when Mulayam Singh Yadav ordered firing on karsewaks to protect Babri mosque.
There is no doubt that all major political parties are wooing Brahmins in their own way but one thing is certain that the powerful community always supported the party that had the best chance to come to power. (IPA Service)