BJP leans on OBC vote bank in Rajasthan
DECCAN CHRONICLE | DC Correspondent
NEW DELHI: As the Congress Party struggles to get its house in order in Rajasthan, the BJP is zeroing in on the state’s influential OBC votebank in the Assembly polls due to be held at the end of the year. The OBCs, who comprise nearly 55 per cent of the state's population, are being wooed by the BJP in a big way. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, on his recent visits to the state last month, focused on the OBCs and spoke of the government’s various schemes for the welfare and upliftment of the backward castes.
Addressing a huge gathering in Dausa on February 12 after opening the first phase of the Delhi-Mumbai Expressway, and listing his government’s achievements, Prime Minister Modi said: "Our government has worked for the development of women, poor, tribals and backward classes. Our government has given constitutional status to the OBC Commission so that the OBC class gets constitutional protection."
A senior BJP leader said with over 50 per cent of the state’s population, OBCs are the most important and influential group and no political party can afford to ignore them. The OBCs have a presence in all 200 assembly seats of Rajasthan and have a deciding role in over 50 constituencies.
"Through various programmes and campaigns, our state leadership will be reaching out to all the OBC communities across the state and sharing the information about the work done by Prime Minister Narendra Modi for the communities at the booth level," he said.
The BJP also plans to reach each community or caste of the OBCs through separate meetings and programmes. "We will reach all castes and sub-castes of OBCs across Rajasthan by the Assembly polls at the end of the year.. We will also reach out to the OBCs in minority communities," he said.
The Rajasthan BJP has planned to organise intellectuals’ and entrepreneurs’ meets, besides caste-specific meetings in the coming days. The BJP OBC Morcha workers will explain to community members how the other political parties have cheated them and treated them only as vote banks.
Another state BJP leader said special focus will be given to the areas where the party had performed badly in the last Assembly polls, specially some districts in western Rajasthan which have a sizable OBC population.
Meanwhile, the Rajasthan BJP is tightlipped over Congress leader Harish Chowdhary’s letter to Rajasthan CM Ashok Gehlot demanding an increase in OBC reservations from 21 per cent to 27 per cent in the state.