Mission 2019: BJP can have electoral gains from reservations for the upper castes

The BJP-led Central Government, which has introduced a bill to give 10 per cent quota for economically backward people in the upper castes, can definitely help them in the forthcoming Lok Sabha elections. This step of the central government will benefit the people of the upper castes, as well as help the party to retain its vote bank.

Data collected under the Center for the Study of Developing Societies (CSDS) POLICY Policy Research Program states that for the last two decades, the high caste voter has been a strong vote bank of the BJP. In the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, more than half the upper caste voters voted in favor of the BJP. If you look at the data from 1996 to 2014, you will find that the first choice for most of the upper caste voters is not the Congress but the BJP.

BJP always strong vote bank
Year Congress (%) BJP (%)
1996 29 37
1999 17 46
2004 22 42
2009 26 36
2014 12 54

The possibility of getting support of other castes:
This bill for the BJP can also prove to be a bargain because it will strengthen the vote bank of upper caste. At the same time, the BJP can get support from farmers too. In Gujarat and Karnataka, farmers and tribes of the Lingayat community have a very strong base. These castes are considered to be BJP supported. However, in other states like Maharashtra (Maratha) and Haryana (Jat), farmers’ castes remained distant from the party. In spite of this, in 2014, the BJP got more votes than the Congress of the Kisan caste. Not only that, their vote share has doubled compared to 2009. This new reservation has got the BJP an opportunity to please both the caste groups.

Swinging farmers between Congress and BJP
Year Congress (%) BJP (%)
1996 21 32
1999 27 32
2004 24 26
2009 25 14
2014 15 33

Many times angry disgusted
Since the year 2014 till now farmers have shown reservations in government jobs and sometimes have expressed their anger about crop prices. But the upper classes have been quite peaceful since the Central Government overturned the Supreme Court’s decision on the SC / ST Act. The decision taken against the misuse of the SC / ST Act had become a puzzle for the BJP. In 2014 the party was able to take along with the upper caste as well as the Dalits and tribal voters. But the Supreme Court’s decision had created a crisis on keeping the vote bank. In the mid-2018 ‘Mood of the Nation’ survey, more than half of the upper caste people had said that the SC / ST Act was misused to resolve the private dispute.

Reasons for defeat in Madhya Pradesh:
It is believed that due to the defeat in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh assembly elections, the support of upper castes was also slipping. The rising stature of the Congress and the state-level alliance has put a threat to its vote bank. For this reason, the party is ready to take a big decision in favor of the upper caste.

Who is going to raise votes for the BJP
                                                (% In)
Voting for BJP included in caste survey, house-to-door propaganda and vote for BJP and pamphlets
High caste 14 24 29
Farmer and middle caste 7 8 5
OBC 35 39 39
Dalits 17 11 12
ST 6 10 7
Other 21 8 8

Voting in favor of BJP is also ready
High caste voters not only vote in the BJP’s favor, but also create an environment in favor of the party. A survey of National Election Study-2014 was asked whether he would like to go from house to house to a party and would like to promote propaganda by distributing prescriptions. A quarter talked about campaigning in favor of the BJP and it was mostly the upper caste people. While only 14 per cent of the upper castes in the country participated in the survey.

There is no difference in the current reservation with this bill, so the possibility of getting angry with the backward castes has also decreased. However, the general category family may be slightly upset with this decision. This thought-provoking move can benefit the BJP, but it is not guaranteed to win again the elections.

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