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Thursday, January 27, 2022

Parting the sum: My per cent vs your per cent

Speaking at a recent event, the Chief Minister said the state will witness an "80% versus 20%" election, and that the BJP will retain power.

Written by Lalmani Verma | Lucknow |
Updated: January 15, 2022 3:32:41 am
Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath. (File)

THE MANY additions and subtractions aren’t the only math sums occupying parties in Uttar Pradesh. The caste calculations of the state have introduced another dynamic: percentages.

Yogi Adityanath’s 80% to 20%

Speaking at a recent event, the Chief Minister said the state will witness an “80% versus 20%” election, and that the BJP will retain power. Yogi did not specify, but the Opposition said it was obvious. As per the 2011 Census, Muslims formed 19.01% of UP’s population.

Asked to clarify the remarks at an Aaj Tak event, Adityanath said 20% are those who “oppose Ram Janmabhoomi” and “sympathise with mafias and terrorists”. The CM also said that “80 vs 20” is a reality. “This is definitely an 80 vs 20 election.”

Swami Prasad Maurya’s 85% to 15%

Taking off from Adityanath’s formulation, the BJP minister-turned-Samajwadi Party leader said on Friday that the election would actually be a contest between the 85% backwards and Dalits and the 15% upper castes of the state. Among UP’s prominent OBC leaders, Maurya, speaking for the first time from the SP’s stage, went on to elaborate. “Sarkar banaven Dalit aur pichde, aur malai khaven wo log agde, 5 feesdi log (Governments are made by Dalits and backwards, and the benefits are cornered by the upper castes, the 5%)! You are giving a slogan of 80 and 20, but I say that it will now be 15 versus 85,” he said, adding, “85 to hamara hai, 15 me bhi bantwara hai (The 85 is all ours, the 15 is further divided).”

“If only those 5-10% are Hindus for you, tab to aapki khatiya khadi, bistara gol hona tai hai. Kyunki batware ki line aapne kheench dee hai (then nobody can prevent your rout. Because you have drawn the dividing line),” Maurya said, adding that the SCs,ST, tribals, backwards, poor and Daltis will unite in the elections.

Later, he tweeted, “Vote hamara, raaj tumhara, nahin chalega, nahin chalega (Our votes and your reign, this ends)”.

As per the 2011 Census, SCs made up 21.1% of UP’s population while STs were 1.1%. The state’s OBC population is estimated at around 50%.

Akhilesh Yadav’s 80% vs 20%

Trying to woo the upper castes, particularly Brahmins, to broadbase its appeal, the SP would have been left squirming at the stark categorisation by Maurya of the coming elections as backwards vs forwards. In his speech Friday, Akhilesh steered clear of any caste references.

Instead, he said that when Adityanath talked of 80% vs 20%, he actually meant that only 20% would back the BJP and the rest the SP. Plus, he said, the exit of Maurya and others would further reduce the BJP’s 20%. “Baba Mukhyamantri (the chief minister) should engage a math teacher,” Akhilesh said.

An upper caste leader of the SP said the party should take up what Maurya had said at an appropriate forum. “SP ideologue Ram Manohar Lohia was of the opinion that people from every section and class should be taken along. Maurya’s remark is against that ideology.”

SP MLA Manoj Pandey, who is president of the party’s ‘intellectual cell’ and the organiser of its ‘Prabudhha Sammelans’ to connect with Brahmins, said: “I have not read Maurya’s remark. The SP has always given respect to all castes and sections and ensured participation of everyone. Also, Dalits, backwards and forward classes, whoever is deprived of their right, they should get rights on the basis of poverty.”

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