The Brahmin, Bania party doesn’t seem to be interested in romancing the OBCs anymore.
The BJP’s choice of presidents in electorally crucial states as well as its central list of office-bearers symbolically highlights the trend quite clearly.
The central unit led by Nitin Gadkari is dominated by the Brahmins.
Gadkari has dropped the sole OBC general secretary Vinay Katiyar.
He now holds an ornamental position as a party vice-president.
But in Maharashtra, Gadkari has tried to check the domination of Brahmins by appointing Sudhir Mungantivar as the state chief. Mungantivar, from Vidarbha, is a powerful OBC leader belonging to the Komti caste.
However, the party is led by Brahmins in most other states. Pandit Ashwini Sharma heads it in Punjab, while Arun Chaturvedi is the president of the Rajasthan unit. In Himachal Pradesh, the BJP has found a Brahmin, Pandit Khimi Ram, to head it.
There are indications that in states such as Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Bihar, the BJP will end up appointing a Brahmin. RSS-appointee Prabhat Jha seems to be the chosen one to head Madhya Pradesh. This signal was clear when Jha, accorded a Rajya Sabha berth last year owing to his proximity with the RSS strongman Suresh Soni, did not get any significant position in the central list of officebearers.
“It is a clear sign that Jha is going to MP,” a party insider said.
Similarly in Bihar, three prominent names doing the rounds for the president’s post are state general secretary Mangal Pandey, minister in the Nitish Kumar government Ashwini Choubey and senior leader Sukhda Pandey.
This is because the consensus in the state is that a Brahmin should be appointed to counter- balance Nitish’s overt stress on wooing the “extreme backwards”. Both Nitish and deputy chief minister Sushil Modi are OBCs.
Even in Uttar Pradesh, the BJP is desperate to fill the lacuna created by Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s withdrawal from public life. Chief Minister Mayawati’s social engineering is widely believed to be crumbling with the Brahmins drifting away because of Mayawati’s ostentatious display of power and the creation of various parks and monuments in her name.
The BJP’s biggest worry is that the Congress may turn out to be the beneficiary of the Brahmins’ disenchantment with the BSP. While the BJP is considering many candidates, Lucknow mayor Dinesh Sharma is believed to be a strong contender because of his Brahmin lineage.