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BJP to intensify caste outreach, plans gatherings for specific groups

The BJP plans to intensify its caste-based outreach in Uttar Pradesh ahead of next year’s assembly through sammelans (gatherings) of people from specific castes among other backward classes (OBCs) and Scheduled Castes (SCs).

It has appointed its UP state vice president Dayashankar Singh as the in-charge of OBC Morcha meetings and another vice president, Devendra Singh Chaudhary, as the in-charge of SC Morcha meetings.

“We have identified around 22 castes in OBC and MBC (most backward castes) category. These include Yadav, Kurmi, Nishad, Rajbhar, Chauhan, Kashyap and others,” Dayashankar Singh told ET. “We will organise specific caste sammelans starting from October 8 in Lucknow. Going forward, we are planning and deciding on the dates as the party’s senior leaders shall participate in these meetings.”

For the castes which have a presence across the state, the meetings will take place in Lucknow. For those which have a strong dominance in a particular region, meetings will be held in those regions.

On October 8, a meeting of Nishad and Kewat community is prosed in Lucknow which will be attended by deputy CM Keshav Maurya and state BJP president Swatantra dev Singh. Other proposed meetings are of Teli community on October 17, Maurya, Saini and Shakya community on October 18 and Rajbhar community on October 19. Along with other leaders, UP BJP election in-charge Dharmendra Pradhan will be present in the meeting on October 19.

BJP leaders told ET that these meetings will not be attended by party workers. The focus is to get 10-15 influential people of those castes from each district. “These could be social activists, small party leaders, people running their own organisations and some respected people of that caste,” said Singh.

From the BJP, senior state leaders including chief minister and state ministers will participate. National leaders of those castes will also be invited to such meetings. “We are thinking of inviting Union minister Bhupender Yadav for Yadav sammelan,” said Singh.

Similarly, the party has identified 10-15 castes among the SCs. “There are several castes under SC category such as Jatav, Kori, Balmiki, Baghel, Pasi and others. We will start with a Jatav sammelan at the state level in Lucknow,” Devendra Singh Chaudhary told ET. “Later, we will take it to district level.” He said meetings of the SC Morcha are going on in all six regions of the state.

BJP, Nishad Party to fight 2022 Uttar Pradesh elections together

BJP on Friday formally announced an alliance with the Nishad (Nirbal Indian Shoshit Humara Aam Dal) party led by Sanjay Nishad. BJP said it was also in talks with other small parties to fight the upcoming Uttar Pradesh 2022 assembly polls.

The announcement was made by education minister and UP election in-charge Dharmendra Pradhan in a joint press conference with Sanjay Nishad. Pradhan reiterated BJP’s alliance with long time alliance partner Apna Dal (S) too.

While he did not pulge details on seat sharing, Pradhan said the Nishad party will be given a “respectable” number of seats. In an earlier interaction with ET, Nishad had said there are 70 seats where the party has a strong organisation and where it stands to win a significant number of votes. In 2017, the BJP had given a total of 19 seats to its two allies-Apna Dal(S) and the Suheldev Bhartiya Samaj Party (SBSP). Formed in 2016, the NISHAD party had contested 100 seats on its own, and won in 1.

Pradhan said the 2022 elections will be fought under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and chief minister Yogi Adityanath.

Asked whether the party will also try to bring back estranged partner OP Rajbhar or tie up with other smaller parties, Pradhan said, “Our UP leadership is in talks with other partners and any information regarding it will be shared at the right time.” Party sources said that the BJP was open to tying up with more like-minded parties to strengthen the party further.

A highly placed BJP source also said a decision regarding the awaited cabinet expansion exercise in UP should be announced within this month.