Main stakeholders in politically-crucial UP, which include BSP, SP, Congress and BJP have already donned battle fatigues. Besides announcing a slew of sops, targeting specific caste-groups and communities, the BSP supremo has in the past few weeks scaled up her campaign to retain power in the state. While she has already addressed rallies aimed at wooing Brahmins , Dalits and Backwards, the chief minister will on Sunday make an attempt to send a message to Rajputs and Vaishyas by holding a public meeting in the state capital.
Political observers view the exercise as part of a concerted effort to mobilise support among specific caste groups. “While the core of her support-base, Jatavs , are steadfast in their loyalty towards BSP, she is not too confident about backing of other communities. Hence, her aggressive campaign to muster their support,’’ said a political analyst based in Lucknow. In 2007, Mayawati’s party, riding on the support offered by caste-groups other than the traditional voters, bagged an impressive 206 seats in an assembly with a total strength of 403. BSP polled 30.43%, and was far ahead of its other political rivals SP, Congress and BJP.
Her support-base, however, suffered a dent in the Lok Sabha polls held two years later, in which BSP could win only 21 seats. While SP emerged victorious in 22 constituencies , Congress confounded political pundits by winning 20 constituencies. Congress has now forged an alliance with Ajit Singh’s RLD. Party general secretary Rahul Gandhi, while taking charge of the campaign in the state, has mounted an aggressive bid to woo Muslims too.
SP, too, has tried to expand its base by reaching out to non-Yadav OBCs, Muslims and upper castes, primarily Rajputs. To counter Rahul Gandhi’s efforts, Akhilesh Yadav, SP’s state president, has launched a state-wide yatra to mobilise support.
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