To corner Congress, SP, BSP and consolidate its upper caste voter base
The BJP has launched a no-holds barred campaign against a Congress proposal to provide 9 per cent reservation for the backward minorities from within the 27 per cent quota for the Other Backward Classes (OBCs). The BJP hopes this will yield political dividends for it in the coming Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections.
With most of the surveys suggesting that the fight would be mainly between the BSP and the SP, the BJP sees the quota debate as a good opportunity to boost its prospects.
The BJP's target is not only the Congress but also the SP and the BSP. Since there is no chance of the BJP getting Muslim votes, it has nothing to lose by opposing quota for minorities, which essentially benefits the backward Muslims.
BJP leaders believe the quota politics could help the party in consolidating its voter base among the upper castes, who have traditionally sided either with the BJP or the Congress. The opposition of the party to the recent Cabinet decision — which has since been stayed by the Election Commission — to provide 4.5 per cent quota for backward minorities was partly aimed at the same objective.
Ever since Union Law Minister Salman Khursheed made a statement at a rally in Uttar Pradesh earlier this week that the Congress was committed to give 9 per cent reservation to minorities, the BJP has been arguing that the move will not only divide the State on communal lines but also widen the divide among the OBCs.
The later argument is aimed at cornering the SP and the BSP.
The BJP leaders have been repeatedly challenging the leaders of these parties to spell out their stand on the quota for minorities.
The SP draws its support mainly from the backward classes. Implied in the charge of the BJP that quota within quota would widen the chasm among the OBCs is the message that quota for minorities would be at the expense of the traditional vote bank of the SP.
In the assessment of the BJP, the BSP's silence on the quota debate will not go down well among the upper castes as well as the OBCs.
For, BJP has nothing to lose by opposing quota for minorities
Says quota will divide state on communal lines and widen divide among OBCs