BJP, SP try to win over Brahmins with Mayawati’s words

May 6th, 2009 - 6:24 pm ICT by IANS  

Bharatiya Janata Party By Rajat Rai
Lucknow, May 6 (IANS) Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati’s rivals - the Samajwadi Party (SP) and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) - are using her words to dent her winning Dalit-Brahmin electoral formula.

With the Lok Sabha polls on, both these parties have been trying to convince upper caste voters, particularly Brahmins, of a loss in social status if they continue to back Mayawati’s Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP).

Picked up first by the SP and soon after by the BJP, page number 154 of the first part of Mayawati’s autobiography mentions the BSP philosophy of “Lutiya, Khatiya and Bitiya” — this is now being projected as a threat to Brahminical caste hierarchy.

The philosophy means sharing water from the same jug, sitting together on the same cot and marriage between various castes.

SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav prominently highlighted this philosophy at his rally in Gonda April 22.

“Mayawatiji has stated on page number 154 that untouchables are being offered water, a place to sit along with the upper castes who may even agree to marry their daughters with Dalits if they stay with the BSP,” Mulayam Singh said at the rally.

The BJP was quick to follow.

“We received huge consignments of photocopies of the page from our headquarters with instructions to distribute it on a war footing. We are already campaigning to spread awareness here as well as in adjoining areas,” said Mahesh Tiwari, a block level leader of the party in Gonda.

The Brahmin votebank helped Mayawati swing into power with full majority in Uttar Pradesh two years ago. Out of the 206 seats she won, 42 winning candidates were Brahmins - she gave tickets to 86 Brahmin candidates.

BSP’s Brahmin face and the party’s number two, Satish Chandra Mishra, said in an interview recently: “Our core vote is intact and is spread across 55 seats out of the 80 constituencies of the state.”

A senior BSP leader said: “A major chunk of this core vote constitutes of Dalit and upper caste vote. Now, we need to supplement this with votes from other communities and this is happening across the state in about 40 to 50 seats.”

However, political experts call this a pure political gimmick of the BJP and SP.

“It (Mayawati’s statement) is being misinterpreted for political gains. If at all anyone thinks of (this as) an intermixing of caste, then it is healthy and good for the development of society,” said Ramesh Dixit, a professor of political science in Lucknow University, said.

Mulayam Singh should not forget that his idol, Ram Manohar Lohia, also advocated this philosophy, besides Mahatma Gandhi, Dixit added.

Another educationist agreed.

“It is just to re-divert Brahmin votes towards themselves that the SP and BJP are making an issue of it. They have chosen rural and suburban areas because the custom of untouchability still persists in such areas,” said Girish Tripathi, professor of the economics department in Allahabad University.

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