The BJP in Uttar Pradesh has fielded 27 candidates from non-Yadav Other Backward Castes (OBCs) background, a figure not just marginally higher than 2014, when the party had given tickets to 24 candidates from these castes, but is also more than the 18 candidates from these communities fielded by the SP-BSP-RLD alliance so far in the state.
While Yadavs are seen as the core support base of the Samajwadi Party (SP), and the BSP claims Dalits to be its primary vote base, all parties require the support of non-Yadav OBCs to take effective electoral lead. While the saffron party has fielded three more non-Yadav OBC candidates over 2014, it has fielded three fewer candidates from upper castes this time — down from 37 in 2014 to 34.
Click here for more election news
To arrive at the numbers, the BJP has changed candidates on eight seats. In Rampur and Jhansi, where the party had fielded Lodh (OBC) candidates in 2014, Brahmins are in the fray this time. In Jhansi, Anurag Sharma has replaced Union minister Uma Bharati.
In Sant Kabir Nagar, Ambedkar Nagar, Banda, the ruling party has replaced Brahmin sitting MPs in all these constituencies with OBCs candidates. In Badaun, where a Brahmin candidate had lost to SP’s Dharmendar Yadav in 2014, has been replaced by a non-Yadav OBC leader.
In Bhadohi, a Thakur MP has been replaced with an OBC nominee this time, as has been the case in Mainpuri, a Samajwadi Party bastion, where an upper caste candidate has been replaced with an OBC candidate.
The BJP is contesting on 78 seats out of UP’s 80 Lok Sabha constituencies, leaving Mirzapur and Robertsganj (reserved for Scheduled Caste) for alliance partner Apna Dal (Soneylal). The party has so far announced candidates on all but Ghosi seat.
In Mirzapur, Apna Dal (S) leader Anupriya Patel, who comes from an OBC background, is contesting again. She had won from the same seat in 2014. Another candidate from her party, Kunwar Haribansh Singh, a Thakur, was elected from Pratapgarh last time. This time, Bhojpuri actor Dinesh Lal Yadav is the BJP’s only Yadav candidate – he is pitted against SP president Akhilesh Yadav in Azamgarh.
The 18 non-Yadav candidates fielded by the SP-BSP-RLD alliance include RLD president Ajit Singh and vice-president Jayant Chaudhary, contesting from Muzaffarnagar and Baghpat, respectively. Breaking up, BSP has fielded nine non-Yadav , and SP has given tickets to seven such leaders. The SP, which has announced candidates for 29 out of 27 seats in its quota, has fielded eight Yadav candidates and four from Muslim background. The respective figures for the BSP is two and six. The BJP has fielded no Muslims in UP.