Both use Parshuram Jayanti as an occasion to garner the community’s support

With the ruling Samajwadi Party (SP) and the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) vying with each other to woo Brahmins in Uttar Pradesh, Bhagwan Parshuram Jayanti on Sunday was used as an occasion to bolster support from the community which comprises about 14 per cent of the electorate. Two parallel Brahmin conventions organised by the two main political adversaries underlined their approach to garner support of the community ahead of the 2014 Lok Sabha poll.

While a Brahmin sammellan, dubbed as “Parshuram Jayanti Samaroh,” was organised by the SP in Lucknow, a Brahmin “samaj’” meeting was organised by the BSP at Maharajganj, in the far eastern corner of the State bordering Nepal.

Even as Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh, who was the chief guest at Sunday’s function, was conspicuous by his absence, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav promised the Brahmins that all their demands would be fulfilled within a month. Mr. Yadav, who was the chief guest, assured the community that the fake cases registered by the previous regime would be withdrawn.

Addressing the “jayanti samaroh” at the party headquarters here on Sunday, Mr. Yadav paid glowing tributes to the Brahmins and said the “samaj” had always played a important role in unifying the other sections of the society [Brahmin samaj ne sabhi vargon ko jodhne ka kaam kiya hai”].Mr. Yadav said the Brahmin “samaj” had given a direction to the society and had taken the (political) parties forward.

Mr. Yadav stated that “samaj jidhar jayega sarkar uski banegi [the Brahmin’s support is crucial for forming the government],” which clearly underlined the SP’s bid to garner the community’s support ahead for the 2014 Lok Sabha election. Accusing the Mayawati regime of committing excesses against the Brahmins, the Chief Minister said the SP would always fight for protecting their honour (“samman”).

On quota in promotion, Mr. Yadav said it was “Netaji” (Mr. Mulayam Singh) who first opposed the move and it was the SP government which was the first to implement the Supreme Court’s verdict. The Chief Minister reminded the Brahmins that “Netaji” had always worked with them and had always stood for their honour.

Notwithstanding Mr. Yadav’s mention of the SP president’s contribution towards the Brahmin cause, it was Mr. Mulayam Singh’s last-minute withdrawal which became the talking point at the function. Hoardings, banners, posters erected in different locations in the State capital had proclaimed him as the chief guest with the Chief Minister and Public Works Department and Irrigation Minister Shivpal Singh Yadav as the main speakers. The function was to be presided over by Assembly Speaker Mata Prasad Pandey. A government release issued by the Minister of State for Entertainment Tax and Ayodhya MLA, Tej Narain Pandey “Pawan,” on Saturday said the Parshuram jayanti samaroh would be inaugurated by the SP president. While a party spokesman said Mr. Singh had gone to Mumbai for a SP function, sources claimed that he had decided to stay away from caste-based party conventions. He was the chief guest at a intellectual’s conference (actually a Brahmin sammellan) organised by the SP Brahmin Sabha in April with the show coordinated by Minister of State for Agriculture Research and Unchahar MLA, Manoj Kumar Pandey.

However, this sparked off a rivalry between Mr. Tej Narain Pandey and Dr. Manoj Pandey in their attempt to emerge as the “Brahmin face” of the SP. Sources alleged that Mr. Singh was unhappy over the development.

Addressing the BSP’s Brahmin convention at Maharajganj, Rajya Sabha MP and national general secretary Satish Chandra Mishra slammed the SP government for anarchy and the rising crime in the State. In an appeal to the Brahmins that their cause was safe with the BSP, Mr. Mishra alleged that the temples and “mutts” had been taken over by feudal elements under the present regime. Mr. Mishra had addressed a similar rally in Sant Kabir Nagar last fortnight.