Eye on Narendra Modi,Beni Prasad’s anti-SP barbs gameplan to woo MBC votes

Congress MPs from Uttar Pradesh are doing a Nitish Kumar in the state.

Written by Ravish Tiwari | New Delhi | Published: April 8, 2013 3:10 am

While Gujarat Chief Minister’s ascendancy within the BJP threatens to cast a shadow on relations between the saffron party and its alliance partner JD(U),the prospects that Mulayam Singh Yadav-led SP will capitalise on Narendra Modi’s polarising potential has got Congress MPs from Uttar Pradesh to do a Nitish Kumar in the state.

Leaders from UP confide that Union Steel Minister Beni Prasad Verma’s attack on Mulayam was part of the desperation within the state Congress to keep itself in the state’s political picture frame.

Raja Ram Pal,a Congress MP from Akbarpur (UP),in this context,has written to Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi suggesting him to isolate “forward OBCs” represented in Mulayam’s support-base as Nitish politically isolated Lalu Prasad by tapping the resentment against the hegemony of Yadav community among the OBCs in Bihar.

“The benefit of (OBC) reservation has been broadly taken away by the forward OBCs,and MBCs (most backward classes) are left in miserable condition — socially,educationally,economically and politically,” Pal,himself belonging to an MBC,has written to Rahul to point out how Nitish took “advantage of the situation” by catering to their demands that “brought him (Nitish) back to power second time with comfortable majority”. Pal has brought to the notice of Rahul that UP CM Akhilesh Yadav is “having an eye on the MBCs vote bank” and consequently recommended that 16 castes from among MBCs be included in the SC category. “This is also going to make a big difference in the 2014 election,” Pal has cautioned,reminding that “the MBCs have missed the focus of the AICC” despite Rahul’s “kind” approach towards them.

In this backdrop,he has suggested Rahul to urge the UPA government to take a national lead on this political schism between the OBCs by constituting an “All India MBCs Commission” to specifically look into the interests of these communities comprising 30-35 communities like potters,blacksmiths,carpenters,fishermen,shepherd and barbers. Incidentally,at a rally organised by Pal in the run up to 2012 UP Assembly elections,Rahul had sought to reach out to these communities by highlighting that National Innovation Council chairman Sam Pitroda was a “badhai” (carpenter).

Pal has also sought to extend the Bihar model by providing sub-quota to MBCs among the OBCs in jobs and panchayat elections. In addition,he has suggested to Rahul that these communities have started bearing the brunt of feudal oppression after the enactment of the SC/ST Atrocities Act and suggested a similar Act to prevent atrocities against these communities across the country.

Pal’s suggestions hold importance in the light of the fact that he is one of the eight zonal in-charges deputed by the party for electoral management across 10 districts,mainly from Bundelkhand,in UP.

Sources claim that Verma’s attack on Mulayam was part of his attempt to create schism between “forward OBCs” led by the Yadav community and other backward communities. “There is deep frustration within non-Yadav OBCs in the wake of preferential treatment to SP chief’s community. Verma’s attack on Mulayam is aimed to tap into this resentment among non-Yadavs against SP,” confided a source close to Verma.

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