The unofficial campaigning for West Bengal, Bihar and UP elections, scheduled in early 2021 and 2022 respectively, have already begin with the opposition trying hard to woo away the upper caste votebank from the BJP, especially the Brahmins.
The small brahmin community, which had been neglected from nearly five decades by major political parties in order to harness support from the backward communities through quota politics seems to have gathered importance again as congress loses support.
Starting with UP, the state in which caste matters the most, the BJP broke all caste barriers in 2014 and 2019 Lok Sabha as well as 2017 Vidhan Sabha elections. Almost half of the SC/ST voted for the BJP while more than 75% non-Yadav OBCs and 85% upper castes polled in favour of the Saffron Party.
After the Mandal-Kamandal quota politics, the Brahmin community have largely sided with the BJPs Hindutva-development agenda. The SP, BSP have been trying to forge a Muslim/Brahmin and Muslim/Brahmin/Dalit combine respectively to take on the BJP. Recently, the BSP and SP promised Parshuram Jayanti holiday, statues of Lord Parshuram and a slew of measures to appease the Brahmin community.
The opposition in UP have alleged that Brahmins have been marginalized under the Yogi Adityanath govt and Modi govt. The major reason is the discontent due to the controversial SC/ST Act.The opposition has also been trying to cash on the Brahmin-Thakur divide. Rahul Gandhi declaring himself a Janeuddhari Brahmin, making Sheila Dixit as the CM candidate and recently shanefully trying to further the propaganda that gangster Vikas Dubey was killed for being a Brahmin.
However, the truth is quite different as Yogi govt has a good representation of Brahmin ministers and bureaucrats. The VHP-RSS has been trying to build a formidable Hindutva alliance of all castes with projects like “Jai Valmiki, Jai Shree Ram” under which all castes are being brought to the mainstream under the “One Hindu” agenda.
Coming to West Bengal, a state which boasts of voting about the caste issue, has around 12% brahmin votes.
With a Brahmin Mamata Banerjee as CM, the party didn’t have to much to worry about the upper caste votes. However, due to Muslim appeasement, rise in reservations and the rise of BJP, the Brahmin community went away from the TMC. This was evident in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections as BJP got around 40% votes just behind 43% of the TMC. The middle class Brahmins seem to have played a huge role in this apart from the overwhelming support from other castes.
Just a couple of days back, the Congress started to play the “Bengalee Brahmin girl” card for Rhea Chakraborty, accused in the Sushant Singh case. Adhir Ranjan Chowdhary also took out a huge rally while indicating that a Brahmin Rhea is a soft target for the BJP through his statements.
The Brahmin appeasement project seems a non-acheivable reality. It failed for Congress in the 2019 Bihar Loksabha elections. However, recent state elections in MP show how BJP lost atleast 2 dozens seats due to wafer thin margins thanks to NOTA votes. This loss was attributed to Brahmins who voted for NOTA and independent Brahmin candidates who showed their anger over the SC/ST act.
Only time will tell if the Congress-led Opposition can successfully divide Hindus for their political gains as they have been dividing the lower castes by Quota politics. The brahmins have already stood for the Hindutva-development politics and away from appeasement politics.