The OBC vote has been a key role in UP politics, notably for the BJP and SP, despite the fact that the future of various minor parties is dependent on it.
Only hours after the Allahabad High Court ordered that Uttar Pradesh’s urban local body (ULB) polls be held as soon as possible and that no reservation be given to Other Backward Classes (OBCs) in these polls until the state government completed the Supreme Court-mandated “triple test,” a war of words erupted between the Opposition Samajwadi Party (SP) and Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and the ruling BJP.
The SP termed the BJP a “anti-reservation party,” claiming that the saffron party “snatched” the quota right from OBCs now and will “do the same with Scheduled Castes (SCs)” in the future. “The quota of 60% of UP’s population has been denied,” SP president Akhilesh Yadav accused in a statement, accusing the BJP. Akhilesh urged OBCs and Dalits to join the SP in the “fight” to keep their quota rights.
Senior SP leader Ramgopal Yadav questioned the Yogi Adityanath government’s OBC ministers’ “silence” on the matter.
Ramgopal also called out prominent BJP politician and Deputy Chief Minister Keshav Prasad Maurya in his tweet, saying, “Maurya ki sthiti bandhua majdoor jaisi!” (Maurya’s situation is similar to that of a bonded labourer). Maurya is the state’s prominent OBC face in the BJP regime.
In her tweet in Hindi, BSP president Mayawati alleged that the high court’s judgement “exposed” the BJP and its government’s “anti-OBC and anti-reservation ideology”. She said that the UP government should have resolved this issue sooner by completing the “triple test,” but that this was not done. ”
“There is no question that the OBC community will punish the BJP for this injustice,” she remarked.
Prior to the Opposition’s attack, the BJP received a warning from its partner Apna Dal (Sonelal), which tweeted that civic elections without OBC reservation were unconstitutional. “In this context, we are reviewing the high court’s decision. “If necessary, Apna Dal (S) would move to the Supreme Court to fight for OBC rights,” the party declared in Hindi.
The BJP administration promptly announced the formation of a commission to secure OBC reservation on the basis of the “triple test,” with CM Adityanath declaring that the ULB polls will be held only when OBCs are granted reservation.
In a tweet, Keshav Prasad Maurya stated that there will be no compromise on OBC rights. Maurya labelled Akhilesh “anti-OBC” and labelled his reaction a “drama”. He further stated that the civic elections will not take place until quotas for OBCs are guaranteed. “BJP mera wada hai, aarakshan hai aur rahega!”.
According to sources, the state BJP leadership began discussing strategies to mitigate any potential harm to the party’s OBC vote bank soon after the court’s judgement. ”
With its support, the BJP came to power in UP in the 2017 and 2022 elections, and won the majority of Lok Sabha seats in the state in the 2014 and 2019 general elections. The opposition now has the potential to employ anti-reservation propaganda against the BJP as a result of this court decision.
If they are successful, the BJP will suffer significant national harm ahead of the 2024 Lok Sabha elections. The party and the state administration will almost definitely devise a strategy to contain the situation.