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Political Line | Mandal vs. Mandir in U.P.; KCR in the spotlight

January 15, 2022 10:46 am | Updated 10:51 am IST

U.P. election: 80% vs. 20 % or 85% vs. 15%?

Former Uttar Pradesh minister and prominent OBC leader Swami Prasad Maurya who resigned from the Yogi Adityanath Cabinet, joined the Samajwadi Party this week. He accused the BJP of being biased against OBCs (Other Backward Classes) and Dalits. Joining the SP, he said the election in U.P. will be a contest between the 15% and the 85%, referring to the proportion of upper castes to the rest of U.P.’s population. There are no accurate figures available, but the estimation is that upper castes comprise 15% and the OBCs, Dalits and Muslims together make up 85% of the population of U.P. 

Former U.P. Minister Swami Prasad Maurya with Samajwadi Party president Akhilesh after joining the party, in Lucknow on Friday, January 14, 2022.

Former U.P. Minister Swami Prasad Maurya with Samajwadi Party president Akhilesh after joining the party, in Lucknow on Friday, January 14, 2022.

Muslims comprise 19% of U.P.’s population -- the religious break-up of the State is available in the Census. The SP is seeking a broad-spectrum coalition of several OBC and Dalit castes under the leadership of Yadavs, along with the Muslims. The BJP has to keep all the Hindu castes under its Hindutva umbrella to win. That is the reason why  Mr. Adityanath sought to frame the contest as one between the 80% and the 20% . The CM made this pitch several times in recent weeks, and Mr. Maurya was responding to it.

Not only that, Mr. Adityanath also sought to address the peeve of the Brahmins of U.P.. Brahmins form the core of the BJP support in U.P., but Mr. Adityanath is a Thakur. Retaining the support of Brahmins is critical for the BJP -- not that they will vote for SP, easily. Mr. Adityanath reassured the Brahmins that the community will be leading the consolidated Hindu society.

Congress is being Sidhu-ed in Punjab

Poll mode: Punjab Congress president Navjot Singh Sidhu addressing a press conference in Chandigarh on Tuesday. PTI

Poll mode: Punjab Congress president Navjot Singh Sidhu addressing a press conference in Chandigarh on Tuesday. PTI

The Congress’s self-inflicted agonies in Punjab continue, as there is no let-up in State president  Navjot Singh Sidhu’s  tirade against the party that he leads.

KCR in focus

Telangana Chief Minister K. Chandrashekhar Rao is in the spotlight as he received several guests in Hyderabad this week. Leaders of the CPI(M), the CPI and the RJD (Rashtriya Janata Dal) called on him, and his son and TRS working president K.T. Rama Rao  dropped enough hints  that  he might look at the possibility of a national role. In recent months he has been in touch with non-BJP leaders across the country. He has even mellowed down towards the Congress.

His calculation, according to a person who met him recently, is along the following lines. KTR has cut his teeth as a Cabinet minister and built a reputation. The father thinks wisdom is in ensuring a transition while he is around and in control. Handing over the reins to his son, he could take a gamble in national politics. He can count on the support of his Tamil Nadu counterpart M.K. Stalin, and many others who has helped in the past.

RJD president and former Bihar Chief Minister  Lalu Prasad Yadav  sent his son Tejaswi Yadav to KCR with a message -- take a lead in national politics. The ongoing fratricidal battle among the Yadav siblings is also a lesson for KCR and he wants to ensure that his son is firmly in the saddle, on his watch. 

Federalism Tract

Governor vs. CM

The ongoing confrontation between the  Governor and the State government , in Maharashtra and Kerala, have turned the spotlight on the rather delicate relationship between the constitutional head of the State and the elected government. 

Chief Minister M.K. Stalin. File photo

Chief Minister M.K. Stalin. File photo

On expected lines, Mr. Stalin has announced that his government was exploring options to empower itself to make the appointment of  vice-chancellors of universities .

The  Kerala Governor  is also sparring with the State government on governance issues at universities in the State, but in that case, the ruling CPI(M) too has a lot of explaining to do. The higher education sector in Kerala is indeed in a mess, and the Governor has  warned of stern action .

NEET sticking point

A meeting of all party MLAs, convened by the  Tamil Nadu government , decided to consult legal experts to find ways of dispensing with medical admissions based on the National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test and to take steps to formulate a unanimous opinion against the test in other States. NEET has become a sticking point in Centre-State relations.

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