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BJP begins carpet bombing in western UP

Home Minister Amit Shah holds door-to-door campaign in support of BJP candidate for Uttar Pradesh Assembly polls in Dadri on Thursday (ANI photo)

Eyeing the crucial Jat votes in western Uttar Pradesh, the BJP has stepped up its campaign in the region. Of the seven-phase elections in the state, polls will be held in western UP during the first two phases (February 10 and February 14). The BJP has begun para dropping its heavyweights including Home Minister, Amit Shah, Defence Minister, Rajnath Singh, BJP chief, JP Nadda to intensify its spadework in western UP.  

Dominated by Jats (nearly 17%) and Muslims (nearly 26%), the Samajwadi-RLD alliance has been trying to bring the communities together against the saffron forces. While the RLD-SP combination has been trying to hold the communities together, saffron spin doctors have stepped up their efforts to woo the Jat leaders.  While claiming that the Jayant Chaudhury led RLD has "chosen a wrong house this time", Home Minister also reached out to the Jat leaders in the region.

On the other hand, SP chief, Akhilesh Yadav and RLD supremo, Jayant Chaudhury would hold a joint rally at Muzaffarnagar signalling the Jat-Muslim combination.

It may be recalled that the crucial Jat vote in this region had propelled BJP during the last three elections– 2014, 2019 (Lok Sabha polls) and 2017(assembly elections). Hit by the Muzaffarnagar riots and charmed by Modi charisma, Jats had overwhelmingly voted for the saffron. In the 2017 assembly elections, while BJP got 43 per cent of the Jat votes in western UP, the SP-Congress alliance managed only eight per cent. The BSP got nearly 11 per cent of the Jat votes. Of 136 assembly berths in western UP, BJP had won 109 seats.

Sensing that the caste equation could be in flux following the 13-month long farmers' agitation, the BJP has yet again fallen back on the Hindutva to consolidate the Jat votes. Home Minister, Amit Shah began his western UP push by visiting Krishna Janmabhoomi (birthplace of Lord Krishna), Mathura and offered prayers at the Banke Bihari temple in Vrindavan.  The Home Minister had earlier held a door-to-door campaign in the Kairana district and would be doing so in Dadri and other areas.  Other top BJP leaders, including the chief minister, Yogi Adityanath and BJP president, Nadda would crisscross the region. In December the chief minister while addressing a rally at Mathura, chief minister Yogi Adityanath had said: "After Ayodhya and Kashi, can Vrindavan-Mathura be left behind?" Wooing the Jats, Defence Minister, Rajnath Singh during his visit to the western UP claimed that former Prime Minister Chaudhary Charan Singh was his "idol” and "refused to believe that Jats are angry with us."

As BJP and SP step up their activities in western UP, both the outfits are aware that this particular region going to polls during the first two phases will set the tone for the next five phases. 

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