'BJP plays caste card while nominating candidates in Uttar Pradesh'
Of the total 80 seats in the state, the Bharatiya Janata Party has so far declared 61 candidates, with the Brahmins getting the most nominations, followed closely by backward communities and the Dalit
LUCKNOW: The BJP appears to have kept the caste factor in mind while picking candidates which will help it reach its "target" of 74 seats from Uttar Pradesh in the Lok Sabha elections.
Of the total 80 seats in the state, the Bharatiya Janata Party has so far declared 61 candidates, with the Brahmins getting the most nominations, followed closely by backward communities and the Dalits.
Fifteen seats have been allotted to Brahmins, 14 to backward community leaders, 13 to Dalits, 10 to Kshatriyas, four Jats, two Gurjars and one each to Vaishya, Parsi and Bhumihar castes, said party leaders.
But the party claimed caste was not taken into account.
"Our party does not believe in caste politics. The tickets are given considering winnability and local factors. All aspects are being taken into account before the declaration of tickets by the party leadership," a senior BJP leader told PTI.
"If you go through the BJP list, it will be seen that the party has taken a minimum risk in ticket distribution. Seats where sitting MPs have been dropped, the new candidates are of the same caste," said senior journalist and political analyst Hemant Tiwari.
"The BJP has applied (the) tested social engineering formula and it's major thrust in this election seems to be on the non-Yadav OBCs, non-Jatav SCs and upper castes especially Brahmins and Kshatriyas due to Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath," he said.
The National Democratic Alliance won 73 seats (71 for BJP and 2 for Apna Dal) in 2014 polls in UP.
The BJP is keen on maintaining its winning spree here and its leaders have been given a target of "74 plus seats" this time.
The Rashtriya Lok Dal, which has found space in the Samajwadi Party and Bahujan Samaj Party's tie-up for Uttar Pradesh, is eyeing Muslim, OBC and SC votes, analysts said.
This time, the BJP has given tickets to seven sitting MLAs including three ministers.
Gangoh MLA Pradep Chowdhury has been given ticket from Kairana, while Diler MLA Rajbir Singh has been given ticket from Hathras, Jaidpur MLA Updendra Rawat has secured ticket from Barabanki and Balha MLA Akshaywar Lal Gaur has been given ticket from Bahraich seat.
The three cabinet ministers who have been given tickets for Lok Sabha polls are - Rita Bhauguna Joshi (Allahabad), Satyadev Pachauri (Kanpur) and S P Singh Baghel from Agra.
The party has also dropped several sitting MPs keeping in mind local factors.
Those dropped include BJP stalwart Murli Manohar Joshi (Kanpur), Priyanka Rawat (Barabanki-SC), Ashok Dohrey (Etawah-SC), Bharat Singh (Ballia), Rajesh Pandey (Kushinagar) and Nepal Singh (Rampur).
The BJP has so far given tickets to eight women, including Maneka Gandhi, Rita Joshi and Jaya Prada.
Denying any impact of the reported resentment among "dropped" leaders, a BJP leader said, "Our cadre is disciplined and everyone has one objective this time - to make Narendra Modi PM again. We will succeed in our endeavour and defeat casteist forces and corrupt people."
However, SP supremo Akhilesh Yadav has opined differently.
"The BJP will win only one seat in the state and rest will be in our kitty. The people of the state are looking for an opportunity to rid themselves of BJP's misrule," Yadav said.