August 20, 2016 4:29:13 am
IN A departure from the past, BSP has decided to field 15 candidates from the Yadav community in the 2017 Assembly polls — many of them in SP strongholds of Mainpuri, Kannauj and Firozabad.
This comes amid BSP chief Mayawati often accusing the ruling SP government of working only for “a particular caste” (read Yadavs).
Till now, the party has considered Yadavs to be its least likely vote bank.
In the 2012 state polls, the BSP had fielded five Yadav candidates. Only one among them had won.
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This time, it has chosen fifteen Yadav candidates in an attempt to reach out to the largest OBC caste — seen as a loyal supporter of SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav for more than two decades.
The move is seen to be the result of the BSP losing its grip on non-Yadav OBC castes like Nishad and Kushwaha, also known by Maurya, Shakya and Saini surnames.
The BJP has been aggressively pursuing non-Yadav OBCs and has recently inducted former BSP general secretary Swami Prasad Maurya.
Earlier, BJP had appointed Phulpur MP Keshav Prasad Maurya as the state unit president.
“This is a wrong perception that BSP does not promote Yadavs or that the Yadavs do not vote for the party. BSP works for sarva samaj (all communities) and there is no discrimination against any caste.
“People, including Yadavs, will vote for BSP this time as the SP is in a bad shape. More Yadav candidates will win as BSP nominees,” said Sunil Kumar Yadav, MLA from Obra in Sonbhadra, who was the only Yadav candidate of BSP to win in the 2012 polls.
“The anti-incumbency against the Akhilesh government will make Yadavs look for an alternative to the SP… The elections will be a direct fight between BJP and BSP. If we field a Yadav candidate, the community is likely to vote for us because our candidate is more likely to win,” said a BSP coordinator.
The party has chosen Yadav candidates for Thakurdwara (Moradabad), Sareni (Rae Bareli), Gopalpur and Nizamabad (Azamgarh), Sikanderpur (Ballia), Malhani (Jaunpur), Gyanpur (Bhadohi), Robertsganj (Sonbhadra) and Ghazipur seats.
It has chosen six Yadav candidates in the region between Agra and Kanpur — the largest concentration of Yadavs. These seats are Jasrana (Firozabad), Aliganj and Marhara (Etah), Bhogaon (Mainpuri), Tirwa (Kannauj) and Bidhuna (Auraiya). The BSP has already fielded candidates for most of the 403 seats, leaving just about a dozen where names are yet to be finalised.
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