Wednesday, March 3, 2010

[ZESTCaste] Misra panel: BJP's chance to win over OBCs?

Misra panel: BJP's chance to win over OBCs?

Wed, Mar 3 12:50 PM
New Delhi, March 3 -- With a government-appointed panel calling for
reservation for minorities, the BJP senses an opportunity to find
favour with the Other Backward Classes (OBCs) among Hindus. The
Ranganath Misra Commission has recommended 15 per cent quota for
Muslims in education and employment. In case the recommendation falls
foul of law - the Supreme Court has capped reservation at 50 per cent
and the provision will push it way beyond the ceiling - a minority
sub-quota within the OBC bracket has been suggested. It means that
from within the 27 per cent quota for the OBCs, 8.4 per cent will be
for minorities. While the Mandal Commission, set up with a mandate to
identify educationally and socially backward, said the OBCs
constituted 52 per cent of India's population, the National Sample
Survey Organisation put the figure at 41 per cent. Though the
government has not set a timetable for adopting the suggestions, the
Misra report can lead to political realignments. The Congress can gain
Muslim support, particularly in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. The
Muslim-Yadav alliance nurtured by Mulayam Singh Yadav and Lalu Prasad
in UP and Bihar, respectively, could be tested as the two groups will
be in fight for the same quota pie. And this is where lies an
opportunity for the BJP to attract OBCs to its fold - in line with new
chief Nitin Gadkari's emphasis on widening the party's social base.
Traditional base of the BJP is upper caste Hindus. "We'll oppose any
attempt to take away the rights of backward Hindus and give them to
minorities," deputy leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha Gopinath
Munde, an OBC leader, said. The BJP's rise to power in the 1990s was
accompanied by substantial non-Yadav OBC mobilisation in the Hindi
belt, particularly in UP, which has 80 Lok Sabha seats.

OBC vote can be crucial to the party's revival.

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