BJP’s Ajit move may trigger caste war in UP unit

New Delhi June 14: A caste war is threatening to break out again within the Uttar Pradesh unit of the Bharatiya Janata party with Backward Caste legislators up in arms about the move to include Rashtriya Lok Dal leader Ajit Singh in the party as well as the “excessive domination” of the upper caste leadership.

The State executive meeting of the party at Saharanpur from Friday is expected to witness stormy scenes with the legislators adamant that the party clear its strategy for the polls. The BJP, a senior UP Minister pointed out, will be left with just about 100 seats to contest in the forthcoming Assembly elections after it gives a “share” to all “our famous allies.” The list presently includes the political parties led Sharad Yadav, Ram Vilas Paswan, Naresh Aggarwal and now Ajit Singh.

Legislators are gathering statistics to prove that Ajit Singh does not have any influence over the Jat vote bank in western UP. And, as sources pointed out, the BJP’s preoccupation with the Jat vote “could drive away the other backwards in the region to the Samajwadi party.” It is also pointed out that after Kalyan Singh the BJP has been unable to develop a recognised leadership in western UP with the sources pointing out that the party lost five of the six by-elections held recently in this region.

Chief Minister Rajnath Singh and BJP State unit president Kalraj Mishra are both from eastern UP. The backward legislators are openly upset about “being ignored” by the leadership reeling out figures in support of their charge that Mishra’s “secretariat” is dominated by the forward castes as are the top posts of the government.

The list being circulated by the BJP MLA’s includes the names of its organisational ministers, the Governor, the leaders of the Vidhan Sabha and the Vidhan Parishad, the IGP, the Chief Secretary and others.

The Chief Minister has fallen foul of the backward legislators of the party, with the sources pointing out that he was unable to secure the Thakur vote in Shahjahanpur where the BJP lost the by-election. “Thakurs vote for Thakur candidates” said a Minister adding, “a backward leader will never be to Rajnath Singh what Amar Singh is to Mulayam Singh.” At an earlier meeting the MLA’s cutting across caste lines lambasted the chief minister for even thinking of removing their gunners maintaining that they would not let him fly in his official aircraft if he interfered with their security.

The anger is expected to spill out at the Saharanpur meet where several leaders are planning on some “plain speaking.” The decision to give a Rajya Sabha berth to Kalraj Mishra is also a cause of grievance with a section of the MLAs.

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Referred by: Mukundan CM
Published on: June 16, 2001
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