BJP-RSS close ranks in UP pollsBJP-RSS close ranks in UP polls

Virendra Singh Rawat

With the narrative of quota and the sanctity of constitution creating a maelstrom in Lok Sabha elections in Uttar Pradesh, the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) have closed ranks to counter the Opposition onslaught in the two remaining phases of polling.

Last evening, BJP national general secretary (organisation) B L Santosh and BJP UP general secretary (organisation) Dharampal Singh and UP chief minister Yogi Adityanath were huddled in a meeting to discuss the strategy for the remaining phases of polling.

According to sources, the BJP-RSS workers and cadres have been asked to ensure higher voting percentages by encouraging the electorate to cast their votes.

Besides, the two organisations will focus on the dalit voters and the constituencies with a higher percentage of electorate belonging to the deprived sections of society.

Of the seven-phase polling in UP, the sixth and seventh phase of voting are due on May 25 and June 1 respectively.

The voting percentage so far has also been lower compared to the previous 2019 Lok Sabha polls, which has made the BJP-RSS wary of the plausible consequences.

Moreover, the opposition INDIA bloc comprising the Congress and the Samajwadi Party (SP) has been hitting out at the BJP over the alleged ploy to change the constitution and deny the reservations if the saffron party rode back to power for a third consecutive term.

UP will witness polling on 27 Lok Sabha constituencies in the Eastern UP (Purvanchal) region in the last two phases. These constituencies include the Varanasi, Gorakhpur and Allahabad as well.

The comparatively socioeconomic backward region of Purvanchal has a sizeable population of the dalits and other backward castes (OBC), which are the primary beneficiaries of job quota/reservation.

Last month, RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat, in wake of Rahul Gandhi alleging that the former was opposed to quota, had sought to clarity that the organisation always supported reservation and advocated for its implementation.

“A video being circulated on social media says that the Sangh is against reservation. The Sangh offers full support to all forms of reservations offered by the Constitution. The Sangh reiterates that whoever has been given reservations should continue to have them, as long as societal inequality exists,” Bhagwat said at a function in Hyderabad.

SP president Akhilesh Yadav and Rahul Gandhi have been leading the charge against the ruling BJP by raising issues of quota, jobs, inflation, constitution etc.

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