Former BSP general secretary Swami Prasad Maurya’s entry into the BJP on Monday comes as an apparent boost to the saffron group’s attempts to reach out to backward castes, which form nearly half of Uttar Pradesh’s population and are capable of swaying the result of coming assembly elections.
More specifically, Maurya who enjoys support in his own Maurya-Kushwaha caste, also known by Shakya and Saini surnames in west UP, will not only solidify the party’s hold on the caste group, but also strengthen the BJP’s presence among the non-Yadav backward castes, whom BJP is trying hard to take into its fold.
Kushwaha-Maurya is one of the largest backward caste in UP, the other being Yadav, Kurmi and Lodh. As Yadavs are seen as dedicated Samajwadi Party supporters, the BJP is also trying to woo Kurmis, the latest apparent attempt is induction of Apna Dal MP Anupriya Patel as a union minister of state. The party already has a large number of leaders including former chief minister Kalyan Singh and Union Minister Uma Bharti from Lodh caste.