obc Politics is changing in India
Over the last few days, politics has come to the center on OBC and related issues. It is also affecting the organization and leadership of political parties. The demand for OBC leaders is growing in all parties. Efforts are being made to increase the share of OBCs in the organization. At the same time, all the major national and regional parties have suddenly become active in influencing the smaller parties that influence OBC votes. The all-party assessment is that in 2024, the stronger the OBC players in the political team, the more he will benefit and the more points he will get on the election pitch.
Efforts to attract OBC leadership have begun to show results in electoral states as well. Akhilesh Yadav is also realizing his old political mistake in Uttar Pradesh. At the time of Mulayam Singh Yadav, a large section of OBCs belonged to the Samajwadi Party, but later the gap between Yadav and non-Yadav OBCs widened and this SP vote went to the BJP. Seeing the opportunity, the BJP won almost all the non-Yadav OBC votes in its favor in 2017 and won a big victory. This time, Akhilesh Yadav is reaching out to OBC leaders to garner lost support from the smaller castes. On the other hand, the BJP is not ready to lose its grip in any way. The growing probe into leaders like Omprakash Rajbhar, Sanjay Nishad, Anupriya Patel and Sanjay Chauhan ahead of the state elections is also a result of this trend.
That’s why Baghel’s hand was up
After Kalyan Singh’s death, the BJP is trying to stand on one platform under the pretext of respecting its OBC leaders. At the same time, Mayawati has adopted a strategy of giving more priority to Brahmin and OBC leaders in her party. It is believed that this time OBC leaders can get the most benefit in the distribution of tickets in the elections. Similarly, in Chhattisgarh, when there was factionalism between Bhupesh Baghel and TS Singh Deo over the Chief Ministership, Baghel sided with him as he was a strong OBC leader. There was a general opinion in the party that in the current environment, an OBC leader like Baghel cannot be threatened with destabilization. On the other hand, the BJP leadership is sending a message in Chhattisgarh that if the BJP wins the elections, there will be only one OBC chief minister. OBC-centric politics is still at the center in neighboring Madhya Pradesh. While the Congress is promoting young leaders like Jitu Patwari, Shivraj Singh Chouhan is trying to send a political message by calling himself an OBC leader.
In Bihar, RJD has launched a special campaign to get OBCs on their side. OBC faces will be given maximum opportunity from the media to the stage, the party said. Tejaswi Yadav also faces the challenge of connecting non-Yadav OBCs like Akhilesh Yadav. Tejaswi Yadav from Bihar has also devised a strategy of moving away from his traditional Muslim-Yadav equation and giving more priority to OBC leaders in the party. On the other hand, Nitish Kumar is trying to play a series of political bets to re-establish himself as an OBC leader. Be it Maharashtra or Madhya Pradesh, Congress and BJP are also strategizing to give priority to OBC faces.
The secret of cabinet expansion
In fact, the opposition wants to reach out to OBC voters before the 2024 general election. He believes that if he fails to improve his position among OBC voters, problems will increase for him in the years to come. Reaching out to OBC voters will also require strong OBC leadership from these parties. It is also the largest group in terms of numbers. In recent times, the BJP has taken a series of steps to win over this electorate. Also given a place in the leadership. Recently, when the cabinet was expanded in the second term of the Modi government, most of the OBC leaders were given seats and it was widely publicized.
In fact, for the past few days, there have been a series of incidents in the country’s politics that have brought OBC politics to the forefront. The demand for a first caste census was made an issue. When all the regional parties started putting pressure on the BJP over this demand, the effect was felt on the government as well. There is a parallel demand to make public the report of the Rohini Commission. Under this, the Modi government has been trying to find a quota in the 27 per cent reservation in the OBC quota for the last three years.
While the BJP tried to resist the pending reservation for OBCs in the NEET exam and enacted the 102nd amendment to the Constitution by empowering states to identify OBC castes, the challenges remain. At the same time, the opposition parties felt that they could face the BJP’s aggressive Kamandal politics along with Mandal politics. It is believed that OBC politics will emerge more prominently before the general election and the demand to increase reservations could become a major issue. In such a situation, in order to get maximum political advantage on this issue, all parties will have to form their team anew.
Disclaimer: The views expressed above are those of the author.
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