Gaurav Vivek Bhatnagar

Riding high on success of its “social engineering” plan

NEW DELHI: While the Congress has noted with concern the number of people who attended the Bahujan Samaj Party rally at the Ramlila Ground here recently, the Bharatiya Janata Party leaders are taken aback by the number of posters and hoardings bearing faces of “banias” and “brahmins” around the venue. And it has not taken them long to understand that riding high on the success of the social engineering experiment in Uttar Pradesh, Mayawati’s “elephant” has now entered Delhi with a similar model.

“Though the success of such a model appears unlikely in Delhi, the concern is that if the BSP somehow tactfully manages to give tickets to dissident ‘banias’ and ‘brahmins’ from both the BJP and the Congress across Delhi, then it would even be able to convert some of them into seats,” said a senior BJP leader.

Pointing out that such a scenario could well end up giving a lot of leveraging power to the BSP, the leader said it had now become imperative for the BJP to be selective in the distribution of tickets.

“In the Municipal Corporation of Delhi elections, we had ignored a ‘bania’ candidate and given the ticket to a ‘khatri’ and this had led to the disgruntled man joining the BSP and winning the seat on its ticket. There is a lesson to be learnt here if the BJP has to perform well.”

But there are others who believe that too much was being read into the rise of the BSP in Delhi. “It is nowhere even close to where the Janata Dal was in 1993. With 16 per cent votes, the Janata Dal had managed to win only four seats. So with a less than 10 per cent vote share, the chances of the BSP look bleak,” said a Delhi MLA.

Dissidence

While this scenario is definitely enthusing for the BJP as a division of the “secular” votes goes in its favour, checking dissidence has also assumed great significance for the party.

It is learnt that even former Delhi Chief Minister Madan Lal Khurana is hobnobbing with senior BSP leaders these days.

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