BJP writing off Jat support in Western UP, where it had won 72 of the 103 seats in 2017
By ignoring Jats in the ministerial expansion on Sunday and in nominations to the Legislative Council, BJP has added fuel to the fire. Belated increase in MSP for sugar cane may not be enough
The Yogi Government, which inducted seven new ministers on Sunday is signalling that it is reconciled to loss of support in Western Uttar Pradesh. The realisation that Jats will not vote for the party this time is forcing the party to look elsewhere and consolidate its base among other castes, say observers. Jats were also ignored in the nominations to the Vidhan Parishad.
The new faces in the cabinet inducted on Sunday include three OBCs, two Dalits, a Brahmin and a ST.
Jitin Prasada (Brahmin), Chhatrapal Singh Gangwar (Kurmi), Paltu Ram (Dalit), Sangita Balwant Bind (OBC), Sanjeev Kumar (Schedule Tribe), Dinesh Khatik (SC) and Dharmvir Prajapati (OBC) were inducted into the state Cabinet, which took the strength of ministers in Uttar Pradesh up to 60.
“We were expecting the party to include some Jat leader in the cabinet expansion so as to give the message to the Jat community that the party cares for them. But the party has made it clear that it will go to polls without any Jat support,” a BJP leader conceded.
The anger among Jats against BJP Governments at the Centre and in the state, is so intense that several BJP ministers and MLAs have been abused and manhandled by villagers, denied entry into villages and forced to leave.
The expansion of the Yogi cabinet aims at balancing the caste maze. The castes, which are the most upset with the Yogi government, have been sought to be placated. The OBCs, Dalits and Brahmins are widely believed to be unhappy with their representation in the government and administration.
Even in the expansion of the Modi cabinet on July 8 this year, special preference was given to the leaders from Uttar Pradesh. In this, an attempt was also made to get caste calculations right. Out of the seven new ministers from UP at the Centre, four were OBCs, two were Dalits and one a Brahmin. This is the first time that as many as 15 ministers from UP are in the Union Council of Ministers.
There is a growing feeling in the BJP that this time the party will suffer massive losses in western UP. One because of farmers’ agitation and also because of the emotional support the Rashtriya Lok Dal is drawing following the demise of Ajit Singh. In the last assembly election, BJP had won 72 out of 103 assembly seats in western UP.
“Although the Yogi government belatedly increased the MSP of sugarcane by Rs 25 on Sunday, this may not be enough. The Jats want representation in government. Except for Sanjeev Baliayan at the Centre and Bhupendra Chaudhry in the state, Jat representation is almost nil. The party even made Virendra Singh Gurjar an MLC, why not a Jat?” asked the BJP leader.
He sums up by saying: “The design is clear. BJP believes the Jats will not support them, so why pamper this caste.”