BSP Wooing Brahmins To Boost Dwindling Political Stock In UP

The BSP had benefited the most from the Brahmin vote in 2007 and is desperate to repeat the experiment.

The influential 12 percent Brahmin voters in Uttar Pradesh have become a much sought-after community ahead of the 2022 assembly elections.

Sensing that the community is not happy with the Yogi Adityanath government and is looking for other options, parties like Congress, Samajwadi Party and Bahujan Samaj Party are all trying to win over the key segment of the electorate.

The BJP, which got the major share of Brahmin votes in 2017, too is trying hard to retain the community.

Among the three main opposition parties in the state, the BSP had benefited the most from the Brahmin vote in 2007 and is desperate to repeat the experiment.

There are good reasons why the BSP is doing so. The party’s political fortunes have been dwindling over the past several years during which party chief Mayawati’s Dalit support base also shrunk and the organization’s future depends on the numbers it will have in the new assembly next year.

Mayawati-led party’s political fortunes have been dwindling over the past several years.


From winning 206/403 assembly seats in 2007, the BSP’s tally drastically dropped to just 19 by 2017. Since then, 11 MLAs have been either suspended or expelled for alleged anti-party activities.

Senior BSP Brahmin leader and former MP Brajesh Pathak moved to the BJP before the 2017 assembly polls and is a cabinet minister in the Yogi Adityanath government.

The BSP’s 2007 success was mainly due to former chief minister and party president Mayawati’s successful social engineering that combined the 23 percent Dalit votes with the then 10 percent Brahmin votes.

Fifteen years later, she is back to wooing the Brahmins to stay relevant in UP politics but is also not shying away from adding a dash of saffron to the BSP’s blue flag.

As in 2007, the man leading the party’s Brahmin outreach is Mayawati’s confidante Satish Chandra Mishra, who launched a series of community conclaves from Ayodhya on July 23.

The choice of Ayodhya, which has been the epicenter of temple politics in the state and the country over the past three decades, immediately led to sharp criticism from its rivals that the BSP was resorting to soft-Hindutva in order to counter the ruling BJP.


BSP’s vote share in UP assembly elections since 1991 to 2017. (Credit:


Stung by the criticism, the BSP quickly rechristened the outreach programme as an initiative to connect with the intellectual segment but not before ensuring that the political message had been conveyed among the electorate.

If voted to power, the BSP will expedite the construction of the Lord Ram temple, Satish Chandra Mishra claimed in Ayodhya, while noting that he did not need anybody’s permission to pray before the presiding deity of the ancient temple town.

After Ayodhya, the BSP organized similar conclaves in Varanasi, Mathura, Prayagraj, Kaushambi and Chitrakoot, all of which are places linked to the Hindu faith.

Keeping the votes of the Brahmins in mind, the BSP also assured to fight the legal battle of 17-year-old Khushi Dubey, the widow of gangster Amar Dubey, nephew of don Vikas Dubey, who was killed two days after the infamous Bikhru massacre. Khushi is languishing in a juvenile home in Barabanki.

The BSP managers hope that a combination of Dalit and Brahmin votes can give the party a winning edge in the next year’s elections. If the Brahmins come, the other communities would follow suit and support Mayawati, the party managers hope.

While playing the caste card, the BSP is careful that it presents itself as the party of all. In a clear shift from its 2007 strategy, the BSP is claiming in 2021 that the party represents the ‘Sarv Samaj’ or all sections of society.

However, the move to bounce back with the help of Brahmins appears to be too late for the BSP.


BSP has so far organised Brahmin Sammelan in Ayodhya, Varanasi, Mathura, Prayagraj, Kaushambi and Chitrakoot.


SP and Congress

Not to be left behind, the Samajwadi Party, which usually takes pride in its Muslim-Yadav support base, too is set to roll out its Brahmin conclaves from Ballia on August 23.

The Congress too is highlighting the fact that the grand old party gave the maximum six Brahmin chief ministers to the state in the past. The good thing was that all these Brahmin Congress chief ministers were not seen as mere community leaders but held sway across the undivided UP till the Mandir-Mandal politics did the party in.

Ahead of the 2017 elections, the Congress had named former Delhi chief minister Sheila Dikshit, who was married into an influential UP Brahmin family, as its chief ministerial face to woo the community voters.

The party may name a person from the community as its 2022 poll campaign in charge to counter the rivals.


For the BJP, the recent induction of former Congress leader Jitin Prasada too was aimed at gaining a known face to its kitty. Jitin, who had started a separate movement called the ‘Brahmin Chetna Parishad’ while he was still in the Congress, is now busy campaigning for the BJP.

Realizing the importance of the community, the BJP had made Dinesh Sharma, a Brahmin, as one of the two deputy chief ministers to balance the caste equations in 2017. Lawmaker Shrikant Sharma was made a cabinet minister along with Brajesh Pathak for that purpose.


Congress leader Jitin Prasada joined the BJP in June 2021 in presence of Union Minister Piyush Goyal.


Other groups

Besides the Brahmins among the upper castes, the parties are also appealing to the Dalits and the Other Backward Classes, who form bulk of the voters.

Trying to cut into BSP’s core vote bank, the SP, which has always counted on traditional Muslim-Yadav support base, has been trying to woo the Dalits by celebrating the birth anniversary of Dalit icon BR Ambedkar on April 14 as Dalit Diwali.

SP chief Akhilesh Yadav also announced setting up of special teams to raise issues of Dalits but it would be hard for him to win over the oppressed community which regularly faced the wrath of the Yadavs when the party was in power.

One reason often cited to explain why the Dalits voted for the BJP in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections is that they expected that the saffron party to protect them.

That also explained the shift of sections of BSP’s Dalit supporters to the saffron party, leaving only the Jatavs with Mayawati. The SP in now trying to woo those sections of Dalits who may be disillusioned with the saffron party.

The BJP too wants the Dalit votes and recently announced an Ambedkar memorial and cultural center in Lucknow, similar to the one built by former chief minister Mayawati. President Ram Nath Kovind laid the foundation of the center in June.

In order to regain lost ground, the Congress too observed ‘Dalit Swabhiman Diwas’ to woo the community and highlight the atrocities on the weaker sections during the non-Congress governments.

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