Rajat Sharma

What Modi and Yogi have done for backward classes

akb fullSamajwadi Party in Uttar Pradesh got a shock on Wednesday when Aparna Yadav, the younger daughter-in-law of party patriarch Mulayam Singh Yadav, joined the BJP, describing the party as “rashtrawaadi” (nationalist). SP supremo Akhilesh Yadav had been alleging in recent weeks that the BJP is indulging in politics of hate, and that Prime Minister Narendra Modi and UP CM Yogi Adityanath are trying to divide communities. On Wednesday, Akhilesh’s sister-in-law Aparna replied to these charges and praised both Modi and Yogi.
Aparna Yadav said, nation is foremost compared to power, politics, party and family. “I am a nationalist and have now joined a nationalist party”, she added. Aparna Yadav is not a big leader in UP politics, but by allowing her in the party, BJP is trying to send a big message to the voters. That is why BJP leaders decided to induct her into the party in Delhi, instead of Lucknow.
After joining the party, she met BJP president J P Nadda, UP chief minister Yogi Adityanath, both deputy CMs and other senior leaders. Later, she said, despite changing parties, she would continue to perform her duties as a ‘bahu’ (daughter-in-law) in the family. “I want to move forward with a nationalistic approach”, she said.
Reacting to this, Akhilesh Yadav said, “it’s nice to see that those who have not been given ticket by SP are being given tickets by BJP. This shows that the Samajwadi ideology is expanding its area of influence.” Swami Prasad Maurya, who recently resigned from BJP and joined SP, reacted differently. Maurya said, “the bahu of a big khaandaan leaving the party will make no difference, because she does not wield any political clout.”
By evening, Sanghamitra Maurya, daughter of Swami Prasad, but now in BJP as MP from Badayun reacted in a different tone. Sanghamitra Maurya said, “Those who were raising fingers against me after my father joined SP, should now think afresh.
She wrote on social media, “a week ago when the father joined another party, fingers were raised against the daughter. Today, a ‘bahu’ has joined the party of her paternal cousin (Yogi Adityanath) and she is being welcomed. Who has more ‘sanskaar’? Should this be looked from the prism of class and caste? The daughter comes from a backward class and the daughter-in-law comes from a forward class. If those from forward class join BJP, they become ‘rashtrawadi’, but those from backward class, who is in the party, is considered anti-national.
Let me explain what Sanghamitra Maurya wants to say. Aparna Yadav, before her marriage, was Aparna Singh Bisht, and Yogi Adityanath, before taking ‘sanyaas’ was Ajay Singh Bisht. Sanghamitra wants to convey that Aparna is the paternal cousin sister of Yogi, but BJP leaders clarify that there is no direct relation between Aparna and Yogi. The main point is that Akhilesh will now have a tough time replying to what Aparna said in praise of BJP. Akhilesh may say that Aparna left the party because she was denied ticket, but the fact is that, in 2017, when Yogi came to power, Aparna met the CM several times. She set up a ‘gaushala’ for cows and invited Yogi there.
Akhilesh used to describe those from BJP and VHP collecting donations for Ayodhya Ram temple as ‘chandaajeevi’, but Aparna donated Rs 11 lakhs for Ram temple. BJP leaders are, therefore, elated. They are now saying that BJP have opened its doors for all nationalists, while SP is giving tickets to mafia gangsters. On Wednesday, Yogi said clearly that Samajwadi Party is giving tickets to criminals, mafia gangsters and ‘tamanchajeevis’ (gun wielders). He was referring to SP fielding Nahid Hassan, from Kairana, who was instrumental in forcing an exodus of Hindus from the area.
In a major effort to garner support from backward classes, BJP on Wednesday announced an alliance with Apna Dal and Nishad party, small caste-based parties which have good support among Patel and Nishad (fishermen) communities. Union Minister Anupriya Patel and Nishad Party chief Sanjay Nishad addressed a joint press conference with BJP president J P Nadda. Both leaders praised the performance of Yogi Adityanath’s government, and said they would join hands with BJP to contest all 403 assembly seats in UP.
Reports say, BJP will leave 15 seats for Apna Dal and 10 seats for Nishad Party. Patel (Kurmi) voters hold dominance in at least 48 assembly seats, while Nishad voters can make a major impact in at least 35 seats. There was a time in UP politics when most of the backward classes, except Yadavs, and Dalits used to vote en bloc for Bahujan Samaj Party. In the last assembly polls, BJP joined hands with backward class leaders like Om Prakash Rajbhar and Swami Prasad Maurya, who played a significant role in the landslide victory. Now both Rajbhar and Maurya have joined the Akhilesh camp. Yogi did not allow both these leaders to play political cards during his rule.
On Wednesday, both Anupriya Patel and Sanjay Nishad praised the role of Narendra Modi and Yogi Adityanath is working for the betterment of all backward classes and Dalits. Patel pointed out that there were 27 ministers from backward classes in the Modi government.
It was Modi who, for the first time, set up a Ministry of Fisheries for the betterment of Nishad (fishermen) community. Modi government also granted Constitutional status to the National Commission for Backward Classes. To sum it up, BJP is going all out to woo the backward classes in UP assembly elections.

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