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Dominant Castes Boycotting BJP In Western Uttar Pradesh?

Troubling signs loom for the BJP in western Uttar Pradesh, with less than 10 days remaining before the first phase of Lok Sabha elections. Traditionally a stronghold for the saffron party due to a consolidated Hindu vote, the region is now witnessing rapid shifts in allegiance. Dominant castes, such as the Rajputs, are openly expressing dissent and calling for boycotts of the BJP.

The Rajputs, constituting nearly 10% of the population in western Uttar Pradesh, held a Mahapanchayat in Saharanpur on April 7, causing concern within the BJP. Their grievances include perceived neglect by the party, highlighted by the allocation of fewer Lok Sabha tickets despite their large presence.

The recent decision to replace General retired VK Singh with Atul Kumar Garg in Ghaziabad further fueled discontent among the Rajputs, as it left a significant portion of the electorate with only 1 party ticket in Moradabad.

Other communities, such as the Tyagis and Sainis, echo similar sentiments and are organizing panchayats in protest against the BJP. The BJP’s constituency-wise vote share will not go in its favour if its vote is divided along caste lines.

Reports say the intricate caste equation in western Uttar Pradesh could cause trouble for the BJP in upcoming elections.

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Caste equation

Muslim: 42%
Jatav: 17%
Rajput: 8%
Saini: 5%
Gujjar: 5%
Kashyap/Kohar: 4%
Brahmin: 2.5%
Punjabi + Baniya: 8%
Tyagi: 2.5%
Jat: 1.5%

In Saharanpur, the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) has nominated Majid Ali, a member of the Muslim Gada community, as its candidate. Meanwhile, the Opposition INDIA bloc has put forward Imran Masud, who has recently been actively engaging with the discontented Rajput community.
Raghav Lakhanpal, representing the BJP and belonging to the Sharma-Brahmin community, is set to contest for the third consecutive time.

A recent rally held by the Rajput community on April 7 in Saharanpur has spurred discussions on potential caste-based political alliances in western Uttar Pradesh. Masud’s interactions with local Rajput leaders have also prompted other parties to compete for the community’s support.

Thakur Puran Singh, a prominent Rajput figure critical of the BJP, expressed grievances, stating that the party has neglected the Rajput community by distorting their history, denying equal rights to the Economically Weaker Sections (EWS) category, and providing insufficient representation in the Lok Sabha. Singh emphasized the community’s determination to retaliate against the BJP.

Singh further remarked that the Rajput community, despite comprising 10% of the vote share in western UP, feels marginalized by the BJP’s limited allocation of tickets. He asserted that the community would now prioritize supporting candidates capable of defeating the BJP, highlighting their disillusionment with traditional loyalties, as reported by India Today.

Caste equation

Muslim: 36%
Jatav: 10%
Jat: 8%
Rajput: 8%
Tyagi: 5-6%
Saini: 4%
Kashyap/Kohar: 5%
Gujjar: 3%

In the upcoming elections, the BJP will nominate the incumbent, Sanjeev Baliyan, despite facing sustained protests within the constituency. Opposition contenders include Harendra Malik from the Samajwadi Party and Vedpal Prajapati from the Bahujan Samaj Party.

Community leaders from the Tyagi, Rajput, Saini, and Kashyap communities express discontent over the BJP’s candidate selection process, citing a lack of representation. Despite having a sizeable population, Tyagi, Rajput, Saini, and Kashyap community leaders say they are not getting election tickets from the BJP.

They accuse Baliyan of favouring a particular community while neglecting others.
Mane Ram Tyagi, president of the Akhil Bharatiya Brahman Bhumihar Mahasabha, highlights the significant population of the Tyagi community in western UP and criticizes the BJP for overlooking them in previous elections. Tyagi warns that the consequences will be severe if equitable representation isn’t provided.

Caste equation

Muslim: 36%
Jatav: 11%
Jat: 7%
Gujjar: 7%
Saini: 7%
Kashyap: 7%
Rajput: 6%

In Kairana, the BJP has nominated the incumbent, Pradeep Chaudhary, from the Gujjar community. Meanwhile, the Bahujan Samaj Party has put forward Shripal Rana, representing the Rajput community, and the Samajwadi Party has chosen Iqra Hasan as their candidate.
However, discontent is brewing among the Kashyap, Saini, Jat, and Rajput communities, all of whom have advocated for fair representation in the state assembly or Parliament. Despite their demands, the BJP has maintained its decision to field candidates from the Gujjar community.

The Saini community, prominent in parts of western UP, has expressed disappointment over the lack of representation in this constituency.

The Rajput community remains dissatisfied, particularly aggrieved by Pradeep Chaudhary’s and Nakud MLA Mukesh Chaudhary’s perceived partial and controversial role during the Mihir Bhoj controversy. Similarly, the Kashyap community, which holds significant sway in the Nakud Assembly area, feels marginalized by the party’s decision-making across western UP.
Rajput discontent escalated further after the defeat of the only Rajput MLA, Suresh Rana, in the last Assembly election in Thana Bhawan.

Despite fervent appeals, the Saini community’s efforts to secure assembly tickets from Nakud, Gangoh, and Thana Bhawan have been unsuccessful, leading to frustration among their ranks regarding the lack of representation in western UP.

Caste equation

Muslim: 32%
Jatav: 15%
Brahman, Baniya, Punjabi: 13%
Jat: 7%
Gujjar: 4%
Rajput: 6%
Tyagi: 6%
OBC and others: 5%

In Meerut, the BJP has selected Arun Govil, famous for his role in the Ramayan TV series, as their candidate. Govil hails from the Khatri/Punjabi community. Meanwhile, the Samajwadi Party has nominated Sunita Verma from the OBC community, and the Bahujan Samaj Party has put forward Devvrat Tyagi from the Tyagi community.

The BJP’s replacement of the incumbent MP with Govil has intensified caste-based politics within the constituency. Opposition parties are actively attempting to attract voters from various communities.

The Bahujan Samaj Party is focusing on garnering support from a coalition of Muslim, Dalit, Rajput, and Tyagi communities, all of whom have expressed dissatisfaction with the BJP. Conversely, the Samajwadi Party is targeting traditional Muslim voters while also reaching out to OBC and other communities opposed to the BJP.

Caste equation

Muslim: 41%
Jatav: 15%
Jat: 7%
Gujjar: 6%
Saini: 6%
Rajput: 5%

In Bijnor, the Samajwadi Party has nominated Deepak Saini from the Saini community. The Rashtriya Lok Dal, an ally of the BJP, has put Chandan Chauhan from the Gujjar community forward. Meanwhile, the Bahujan Samaj Party has chosen Chaudhary Brijendra Singh as their candidate to represent the Jat community.

Expressing the sentiments of the Saini community, Ompal Saini, president of the Akhil Bharatiya Saini Mahasabha, highlighted the community’s traditional allegiance to the BJP. However, due to the persistent lack of representation, they are now exploring alternative options. Saini emphasized the community’s significant presence on certain Lok Sabha seats.

Caste equation

Muslim: 42%
Jatav: 13%
Rajput: 8%
Jat: 7%
Khagi: 7%
Saini: 5%
Gujjar: 4%
Others: 4%

In Amroha, the Congress has nominated Kunwar Danish Ali, who recently joined the party after being expelled by the Bahujan Samaj Party. The BJP has chosen to repeat Kanwar Singh Tanwar from the Gujjar community despite his loss to Danish Ali in the previous election. The Bahujan Samaj Party has put forward Mujahid Hussain as their candidate.

The BJP is strategically targeting a consolidated Hindu vote, while the INDIA bloc is focusing on attracting Scheduled Caste votes. Additionally, they’re leveraging Danish Ali’s Rajput ancestry to appeal to the Rajput community.

Caste equation

Muslim: 46%
Jatav: 20%
Rajput: 12%
Others: 6%

In this reserved constituency, Dalit leader Chandrashekhar Azad is contesting under his Azad Samaj Party (Kanshiram). The Bahujan Samaj Party has nominated Surender Pal, who faces tough competition from Azad. Pal is attempting to garner support from Muslims and Rajputs while also relying on the traditional Scheduled Caste vote.

The BJP’s candidate is Om Kumar, while the Samajwadi Party has chosen Manoj Kumar. This seat shifted from the BJP to the Bahujan Samaj Party in the last elections.

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