Ahead of the Lok Sabha election, the BJP has managed a careful caste balance in selection of its 14 new faces that will represent it in the Upper House
The BJP on Sunday announced its 14 Rajya Sabha candidates, with 50 per cent of them belonging to caste-sensitive Uttar Pradesh. Ahead of the Lok Sabha election, the BJP has managed a careful caste balance in selection of its 14 new faces that will represent it in the Upper House.
With talks of caste census gaining momentum and BJP’s aggressive push for OBCs, many of its traditional constituents — the upper castes — were feeling left out. This has been addressed, with Brahmins like Sudhanshu Trivedi from Uttar Pradesh or Bengal BJP’s chief spokesperson Samik Bhattacharya being named in the candidate list.
Speaking to News18, an emotional Bhattacharya said: “I thank the party leadership and people of Bengal. I still remember that day when Rahul da and I used to sit in the party office in 80’s and Budhadeb Bhattacharya would say people who don’t have representation in Assembly won’t be called in all-party meetings.”
Mahendra Bhatt from Uttarakhand is also a Brahmin.
While the deal with RLD is almost fixed and that should allay BJP’s fears of Jat discontent over farm laws, the BJP has put Jat faces in the list as well. Chaudhary Tejveer Singh, a prominent face who won the Mathura seat many times from western Uttar Pradesh, has found place in BJP’s Rajya Sabha list.
A ticket has also been given to former Congress leader RPN Singh, who joined BJP in the Upper House and can be the party’s OBC face in Eastern Uttar Pradesh. Sangita Balwant is also an OBC face who earlier found place in Yogi Adityanath’s cabinet. Meanwhile, a Maurya has been given space with Amarpal Maurya’s inclusion in the list of seven Uttar Pradesh Rajya Sabha candidates. In Uttar Pradesh, the Maurya caste group, also known as the Kushwaha community, is estimated to make up around 8.5 per cent of the state’s OBC population.
The BJP has banked on Backward and Extreme Backward castes in Bihar. Bhim Singh, who has worked with both Nitish Kumar and Lalu Prasad, comes from the Chandravanshi Kahar caste. Right now, he is BJP’s vice-president in Bihar. The other Rajya Sabha candidate from Bihar is Dharmsheela Gupta, who is from the Vaishya caste. Interestingly, Sushil Modi also hails from the same caste but neither has he been repeated nor given space in the state cabinet. Gupta’s name is a careful balance to not rub the Vaishyas the wrong way.