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Delhi Assembly elections 2015: BJP banks on caste and religion,Delhi Election 2015, Delhi Assembly Election 2015, Delhi Election News

Delhi Assembly elections 2015: BJP banks on caste and religion

Delhi Assembly elections 2015: BJP banks on caste and religion

While the lotus may have bloomed across India because of the muchvaunted development plank, in the fight for Delhi's durbar, a clueless BJP is falling back on the tried and tested formula of polarisation of votes. On quote, the party and its leaders are still talking development,

but on paper, jittery over the Aam Aadmi Party's aggressive campaign, the BJP has entrusted former Delhi chief Vijender Gupta to head a committee to prepare booth-wise database of voters on the basis of their caste and community. Delhi is likely to go to polls by mid-February and this appears to be the last resort for the party which is still not confident about Delhi.

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Asked to comment on his appointment as the committee head of 'booth gradation and caste and religious equations', Vijender Gupta said that the committee was studying all polling stations in Delhi. "To micromanage the elections, the BJP is assessing all 12,000 polling booths in Delhi. The idea is to examine the party's prospects in the upcoming elections and make the necessary amendments," he said.

Delhi BJP president Satish Upadhyay also said the effort was aimed at reaching out to the maximum number of voters. "As part of the BJP's public outreach programme, we are connecting to all classes of voters from all regions and religions. Formation of the committee aims at connecting to the maximum number of voters," Upadhyay said.

Making inroads

The reasons for this are not too difficult to comprehend. The Aam Aadmi Party is steadily making inroads into the BJP's vote bank and the saffron party lacks a popular face in Delhi to go to polls with. BJP leaders told MAIL TODAY that the exercise is part of the party's effort to micro manage the Assembly polls as envisioned by party president Amit Shah who has often ticked off Delhi leaders for poor management at the grass-root level.

The BJP has also formed a committee headed by actor-turned-politician Manoj Tiwari to woo the dominant Poorvanchali voters in Delhi. The committee was formed in the wake of a BJP survey that said the population of Poorvanchalis varied between 17 to 47 percent in at least 20 assembly constituencies.

Moreover, the BJP had won 14 out of 19 Poorvanchali-dominated constituencies where Manoj Tiwari had campaigned in the 2013 elections.

Sources in the party said caste and religion would be major factors in the selection of candidates for the coming election. The committee named 'booth gradation and caste and religious equations' is one of the 18 core committees formed by the BJP for poll management in Delhi. This committee will be preparing a caste-wise database of voters from the booth level. Similarly, database of castes, religions and communities in each of the 272 wards and 70 assembly constituencies will be prepared.


For a clear mandate

The move comes after Amit Shah's instructions to the Delhi BJP to strengthen the grass roots in order to ensure a clear mandate. Sources said fearing erosion into its vote bank by the Aam Aadmi Party, the BJP has chosen the tried and tested method of playing on caste equations in almost all constituencies of Delhi. The lack of a popular face in the city has added to the woes of the party which is now banking solely on the mass appeal of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Traditionally, in the city, the BJP has been going to polls with a Chief Ministerial candidate; Dr Harsh Vardhan and Prof. V.K. Malhotra being the party's faces in the 2013 and 2008 elections respectively. However, with Vardhan's induction into the Union Cabinet, the Delhi BJP is left with no popular face for the crucial Assembly polls.

Well-placed sources said the BJP also feared a division of Punjabi and Baniya votes that hold the key to electoral success in Delhi. With Satish Upadhyay, a Brahmin, becoming the Delhi BJP president, it was being felt by a section of party leaders that this could upset the two dominant castes in Delhi that constitute nearly 50 per cent of total votes, namely the Punjabis and the Baniyas.

Worse, the leaders from these two communities have been alleging that they have not been given adequate representation in the organisational set-up. While Sikhs and Punjabis comprise 30 per cent votes; Delhi has nearly 20 per cent Baniya voters that are crucial for the BJP's prospects in the coming elections. It was primarily for this reason that the Delhi unit of the party has always been headed by a Punjabi or a Baniya leader. It is for the first time in many years that a Brahmin has been appointed the Delhi BJP president. What has further added to the BJP's worries is the controversy surrounding the recent incidents of conversion. Mail Today had earlier reported that minorities in the National Capital were apprehensive of the BJP's policies.



The BJP leadership, however, termed the exercise as 'routine' and said it was aimed at reaching out to voters from all castes and communities. Party leaders confirmed that the voting pattern and influence of a particular caste and community was being assessed to micro-manage the elections.


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