The ambit of course correction being initiated by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in poll-bound Uttar Pradesh may be both within and outside the party. The cabinet reshuffle and political outreach may also touch sub-regional small parties which have a support base among caste groups – especially amongst the backward and most backward communities.
Apna Dal, which projects itself as a party of the Kurmis in central and eastern UP, is part of the NDA both in UP and Delhi. However, its leaders and MP Anupriya Patel was not inducted in the Union Council in Modi 2.0.
Patel is an MP from Mirzapur, a constituency abutting Prime Minister’s constituency, Varanasi.
“The party will take all its allies together while preparing for the elections next year,” says a BJP leader in Lucknow on the hectic political activities in the last one week.
With not much participation and involvement in government, Patel has been conspicuously waiting in the wings for a while now as Samajwadi Party (SP) works to build a larger social coalition ahead of UP polls.
Nishad Party is another key ally of the BJP. The party claims its support base among boatmen or communities which live by the rivers and water-bodies.
The party was founded by Sanjay Kumar Nishad, whose son Praveen Nishad defeated a BJP candidate from Gorakhpur when Yogi Adityanath resigned from the seat after becoming UP Chief Minister. Nishad was fielded by the Samajwadi Party as a joint candidate of SP and Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP). However, in Lok Sabha polls, Nishad contested from adjoining Sant Kabir Nagar on BJP symbol and came out victorious.
Another small ally of the BJP, Om Prakash Rajbhar of Suheldev Bhartiya Samaj Party quit the NDA ahead of 2019 Lok Sabha polls. Rajbhars belong to Most Backward Castes or MBCs and have pockets of influence in eastern UP or Poorvanchal.
Opposition parties, especially the SP, have also been seeking to build an alliance of smaller parties to consolidate marginal sections of the polity. SP chief Akhilesh Yadav had earlier this year announced his party would implement reservation in promotions for SCs and STs if his party was elected to rule UP.
A sub-division of backward classes reservations for an equitable distribution of the quota pie has been under discussion for a while now. The Central Government had constituted a commission to examine division of 27% reservations to the OBCs so that the under-represented like the Most Backward Castes are able to obtain equitable benefits. The central government has extended the term of the commission headed by Justice G Rohini. The six month extension ends on 31st June.