Other States

BKU set to spoil BJP chances in U.P. panchayat polls

Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) farmers are seen during a march. File   | Photo Credit: Sandeep Saxena

Describing a report in a national newspaper as misleading, Bhartiya Kisan Union national general secretary Yudhvir Singh on Tuesday denied that he had said: “BKU is not against BJP”.

Mr Singh’s alleged statement led to chatter in social media groups about whether the BKU would be able to sustain the farmers’ anger against the BJP and whether the Tikait brothers would put their weight behind those who could spoil BJP’s prospects in the upcoming panchayat polls in the Uttar Pradesh.

“What I meant was BKU is not a political organisation and we don’t tell people where to vote in a panchayat election. But I also said farmers could cast their vote for any candidate except for the BJP supported ones,” Mr. Singh said.

“All along our protest is against the anti-farmer policies of the BJP-led government and Samyukt Morcha of which BKU is a part, has been repeatedly appealing to farmers to punish those who have made you sit on the road,” Mr. Singh added.

In an official release, he also recalled that BKU leaders had travelled to States where Assembly elections were being held.

However, sources in BKU said the organisation didn’t want to take on the BJP directly before the Assembly elections which are still almost a year away. “The idea is the message has already reached the ground and there is no need to underline it in panchayat elections as they are fought by individuals and not party-wise.”

Another factor is that in panchayat elections, there is no unity among the opposition. While the Samajwadi Party and Rashtryia Lok Dal are putting up a united front for Assembly elections, in Zila Panchayat president elections, they are supporting arch rivals in many districts.

Sunil Rohata, RLD spokesperson said panchayat elections were an opportunity to strengthen the cadre and no party would let go of it. “In West U.P., farmers are behind the RLD,” he asserted.

“So, the subtle message is support whomever you find strongest against the BJP-supported candidate,” said Dharmendra Malik, media in-charge of BKU.

However, Rajvir Singh State vice-president said the message should be clearly defined so that nobody could distort it. “When you can speak against the BJP clearly in Bengal, what is stopping you to say it in west U.P. ,” said a senior leader, requesting annonymity.

Emphasisng there is anger against the ruling party, Mr Singh said BJP could not find candidates to support on all the 14 Zila Panchayat seats Ghaziabad. “It shows which way the wind is blowing.”

On the mixed messaging, khap leaders on the ground said that farmers’ sentiment is still against the BJP but it is not that the ruling party is running short of candidates. “In Baghpat, till January BJP could have swept all the 19 seats of the Zila Panchayat. Now, if it could win even half a dozen, it will surprise people,” said Sudhir Chaudhary of Desh khap.

“Many candidates who were looking for BJP support are now fighting as independents,” said Shokendra Chaudhary of Battisa khap in Shamli. He said those who are supported by the BJP are refraining from canvassing and hoping that the non-Jat communities would vote for them.

Mr Sudhir said communities while Tyagis and Gurjars have joined Jats, others such as vaishya and dhimar (an OBC caste) which are in significant numbers were expected to vote for the BJP.

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Printable version | May 6, 2021 7:29:39 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/bku-set-to-spoil-bjp-chances-in-up-panchayat-polls/article34313449.ece

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