BJP focus on caste in appointing poll-bound states in-charges

New Delhi:- Looking into the caste composition in five poll-bound states, the BJP has appointed its election in-charge and co-incharges with an eye on proper representation of important and decisive segments of the population.

The BJP on Wednesday appointed election in-charges and co-incharges for Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Manipur, Goa, and Punjab, where Assembly polls will be held early next year.

A party leader said that all the appointments for the high-stake Uttar Pradesh poll aimed at giving representation to all important, dominant, and decisive castes and communities.

“These appointments will send a strong message among the electorate that the BJP is party of every caste and communities like Other Backward Classes (OBC) and all – Yadavs, upper castes and Dalits – get a key role in decision and strategy making,” he said.

Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan is the poll in-charge of Uttar Pradesh, where OBCs constitutes over 50 per cent of the total electorate, and non-Yadavs make around 35 per cent of this.

A senior party functionary said that Pradhan and co-incharge Annapurna Devi, a Yadav leader from Jharkhand, will help the BJP in consolidating OBC votes.

Pradhan will be assisted by six other co-incharges – Union Ministers Anurag Thakur (Kshatriya), Arjun Ram Meghwal (Dalit), Shobha Karandlaje (a prominent face of upper caste Vokkaligas in Karnataka), Rajya Sabha members Saroj Pandey (Brahmin) and Vivek Thakur (Bhumihar), and former Haryana minister Captain Abhimanyu (Jat).

Another BJP leader claimed that apart from caste equation, all the leaders are young and help the BJP to establish a connect with youth voters in the state.

In Punjab, the BJP has appointed Union Minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat (Kshatriya) as election in-charge, with Union Ministers Hardeep Singh Puri (Sikh) and Meenakshi Lekhi (Punjabi), and Gujarat MP Vinod Chavda as co-incharges.

In Goa, the BJP tried to strike a balance with sizable Marathi voters by appointing former Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis. He will be assisted by Union Ministers G. Kishan Reddy and Darshana Jardosh.

In Uttarakhand, BJP has appointed Union Minister Pralhad Joshi (Brahmin) as election in-charge. He will be assisted by Lok Sabha member Locket Chaterjee, another Brahmin leader, and national spokesperson R.P. Singh (Sikh). Brahmin are the second most dominant caste in Uttarakhand after Thakurs, while Sikhs comprise a sizable number in some pockets.

In Manipur, election in-charge Union Minister Bhupender Yadav will be assisted by Union Minister Pratima Bhoumik and Assam Minister Ashok Singhal. “Bhoumik and Singhal represent the Tripura and Assam and they will help the party establish a link with the voters in Manipur,” a party insider said.