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Getting ready to woo Brahmins

The Brahmin Sabha convention held last week in the city saw 10,000 Brahmins from the state attending,with leaders from only BJP and Shiv Sena addressing them.

Written by SiddharthKelkar | Pune |
January 7, 2009 11:02:50 pm

After Sena-BJP,now BSP,NCP,Congress eye community clout

The Brahmin Sabha convention held last week in the city saw 10,000 Brahmins from the state attending,with leaders from only BJP and Shiv Sena addressing them. The direct equation between these two parties and the Brahmin community seems set to change during the two-day Bahu-Bhashik Brahman Maha Adhiveshan on January 24 where around four lakh Brahmins,are expected to gather.

Realising the huge political mileage to be gained from this single event,leaders like LK Advani,Sharad Pawar,Suresh Kalmadi and even Mayawati,espousing the Dalit-Brahmin Bhaichara theory,are expected to attend.

If BSP leader Mayawati turns up for the convention,it will make a lasting impact on the religio-political equations in the region. Although many party leaders claim it won’t affect the traditional vote banks in the state,going by the impact of BSP had in the recent assembly elections in five states,they don’t want to take any chances by neglecting this huge vote bank.

The Maha Adhiveshan is scheduled to have a political session,where the issues of Brahmin community are to be raised. “We are not going to demand anything from the politicians but will raise issues related to the community and try to find solutions,” said Moreswar Ghaisas,president of the Maha Adhiveshan. “Though there is no plan to demand anything,it is an attempt to gather the community on one platform and show its strength,” he said.

All parties seem to have taken the BSP factor seriously as it can definitely affect the political equations by capturing a sizeable percentage of votes. “BSP is trying to replicate its social engineering experiment in the state and the upcoming Adhiveshan may spell out some different equations,” said a Congress leader.

On the one hand,when the Marathas are demanding reservations,some OBC and Dalit leaders in the state have raised the point that poor Brahmins should also get reservations.

Senior BJP leader Gopinath Munde,while addressing the Brahmin convention in the city on Sunday,said that all economically poor upper caste people should get reservation. Ramdas Athawale of Republican Party of India (RPI) too had proposed reservations for Brahmins,along the same lines.

According to political analysts,while the RPI is trying to counter Mayawati’s social engineering formula to woo Brahmin voters,BJP is trying to hold on to its hitherto loyal Brahmin voters ahead of Lok Sabha polls. “There are 12 Brahmin MLAs in the state assembly,of which eight are from the BJP. It was the BJP-Shiv Sena alliance that gave a Brahmin chief minister (Manohar Joshi) to Maharashtra. Traditionally,the Brahmin voters are pro-Hindutva and that was the reason we invited leaders from Shiv Sena and BJP,” said Sandeep Khardekar,BJP city unit vice-president,who was the organiser of the recently held Brahmin convention.

Congress city unit president Abhay Chhajed,however,disagreed. “There is no such loyalty factor in the community,” he said. Ghaisas too said there was no single-party loyalty for any community. “The Brahmin community will support those who will take care of them,” he said.

Talking specifically of Pune,no party can neglect the influence of the Brahmin vote bank in Pune Lok Sabha constituency,where,out of the 10 lakh voters,four lakh are Brahmins.

“Even as the recently held Brahmin convention saw BJP- Shiv Sena leaders capturing the show,city Congress MP Suresh Kalmadi made it a point to meet one of the organisers before the convention to give his well wishes for the convention,” said a member of the convention’s organising committee

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