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UP polls: SP, BSP in tug of war over 20 per cent Muslim vote bank

New Delhi: Trying to consolidate its core Hindutva vote bank along with the upper caste Brahmins and Rajputs by reverting to the contentious Ram Mandir issue, the BJP has also been targeting the non-Yadav OBCs for the forthcoming Assembly polls in Uttar Pradesh.

Meanwhile, a tug of war is raging between the BSP and SP over the 20 per cent Muslim vote bank in the state. Ms Mayawati is trying to dent SP’s Muslim-Yadav combination with her Dalit-Muslim blend.

With the Jatavs generally sticking to the BSP and Yadavs to the SP, the BJP is mainly targeting the non-Jatavs OBCs and MBCs (Most Backward Caste), which include Koeri, Maurya, Kushwaha, Shakya, Saini surnames, Kashyap, Prajapati Kurmi, Lodh, Nishad, Rajbhars, Baghels and Jats. Making its intention clear, the Modi government had announced that majority of these communities or sub-castes will be included in the SC category.

It is estimated that OBCs are nearly 44 per cent of  UP’s electorate, dalits 21 per cent, Muslims 19 per cent, and upper castes 16 per cent. Yadavs, the dominant among the OBCs is the core of the SP vote bank.

It’s the SP and BSP, which are now engaged in a battle for the Muslims. The BSP has fielded 97 Muslim candidates while the SP-Congress alliance has 62 Muslim faces for the first three phases. Numbers are bound to go up for the SP-Congress for the remaining five phases. 

After the Samajwadi Party, led by Mr Akhilesh Yadav, refused to include the Quami Ekta Dal (QED), Ms Mayawati has pounced on the outfit.

BJP says will set up anti-Romeo squads
BJP President Amit Shah on Saturday released the party's manifesto for Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections promising to make efforts to ensure construction of Ram temple under constitutional provisions if voted to power.

Taking a cue from ruling Samajwadi Party, Amit Shah promised to upgrade the Dial 100 of the state police to ensure police help in 15 minutes all over the state.
Stressing that if voted to power, his party will take one step ahead of the SP’s laptop distribution scheme by providing 1 GB free data for one year besides free wi-fi in universities.

To ensure the safety of college girls, innovative anti-Romeo squads will be set up near colleges to check eve-teasing. Besides, three women battalions will be raised for security of women, the document said. He attacked Samajwadi Party and Mayawati's Bahujan Samaj Party which have ruled Uttar Pradesh for the last 15 years, accusing them of doing nothing to develop the backward state.

The BJP, he said, under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, would turn UP into a developed state, the way it has developed the other states it rules.
"All BIMARU - Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh - states have become developed except UP," he soid.

BJP is going hammer and tongs to return to power in UP after 15 years. In 2012, it had won only 47 of the state's 403 seats, but in the 2014 national election, it swept 71 of the state's 80 Lok Sabha seats and hopes to repeat that performance in this year's assembly election. Elections in Uttar Pradesh will be held in seven phases from February 11 to March 8.

Accusing the Akhilesh Yadav government of not doing anything for the uplift of the state, he said the Centre sanctioned Rs one lakh crore to Uttar Pradesh but no development has been seen on ground.

Besides, law and order is at its nadir, he claimed, adding that Mr Akhilesh will have to answer for the problems faced by the state where"ruling party goondas have grabbed land".

He said people will not be hoodwinked by merely entering into an alliance with Congress to win the polls. He also said a Special Task Force to be set up to put an end to illegal mining in the state.

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