The upcoming Uttar Pradesh assembly election and the stature of Yogi Adityanath and BJP cumulatively have forced parties like Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and Samajwadi Party (SP) to drop their appeasement act for the backward class voters and serenade Brahmin vote bank, for it can help them stage a comeback next year. However, the trend of wooing Brahmins to encash on the neat vote bank is not limited to the UP elections, albeit it has emerged as a national trend lately.
The usual hinduphobic and anti-Hindu DMP patriarch and current Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin during his election canvassing trail had promised Rs 1000 crore exclusively for the renovation of Hindu temples, especially the ones in villages where renovations are long pending.
Moreover, the DMK manifesto also remarked that an annual selection of upto one lakh Hindu devotees would be funded with Rs 25,000 each to travel to any one of the famous pilgrim temples such as Rameswaram, Kasi, Kedarnath, Badrinath, Tirupathi, PuriJagganthar, etc.
Last month, the DMK government announced that 100 temples would be renovated in the state, in this fiscal, without altering their heritage value, at a total cost of ₹100 crores. The tanks and cars in the temples would be renovated and festivals would be held in these temples, as part of implementing DMK’s promise to allocate ₹1,000 crores for renovating temples.
Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal, who in the past had vehemently protested against the construction of Ram Mandir has also changed tunes. In March, Kejriwal whilst speaking in the assembly and evoking Lord Hanuman, Lord Ram, and the idea of Ram Rajya announced that his government will facilitate free pilgrimage for Delhi’s senior citizens to the Ram Mandir.
Similarly, West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee who had openly called for the Muslim community in the state to vote for her had also changed her strategy midway. Fearing that BJP was cashing in on the Hindu votes, Mamata during her nomination filing in Nandigram visited as many as 19 temples in two days, on the advice of her poll strategist Prashant Kishor to consolidate the Hindu votes.
Apart from visiting Shiv, Kali, Krishna and Durga temples across villages, Mamata also visited temples of local deities, worshipped by the villagers, which included Janaki Mata, Manasa Mata and Sitala Mata temples. Videos of the Chief Minister performing ‘aarti’ and offering pooja were live-streamed from Nandigram.
Read More: Temple visit, praising Brahmins and what not: Prashant Kishor’s last-minute tactics to save Mamata in Nandigram backfire
Reported extensively by TFI, fearing that a loss in the UP assembly elections could obliterate the party into nothingness, Mayawati has tugged to the Hindutva cause to script her revival story. BSP, last week started the Brahmin conference in the holy city of Ayodhya, aimed at bringing the Brahmin community into the fold.
Mayawati’s Brahmin outreach program is led by party general secretary and Brahmin face Satish Chandra Mishra who paid obeisance at the makeshift shrine of Ram Lalla in the temple city before kickstarting the “Sammelan’.
Read More: Meet the Jai Shri Ram Chanting, Brahmin Worshipping, Savarna appeasing BahujanSamaj Party
Samajwadi Party led by Akhilesh Yadav is also jumping in the fray as the recent meeting with Brahmin faces of the party prove. The SP leader is expected to get on his bicycle and start a whirlwind tour of the temples to assert his Hindu identity and keep up with the appearances.
Ever since SP party prince Akhilesh Yadav lost the 2017 assembly elections, he has been embroiled in a civil war. The troubles brewing in his family and the odd fights that have often spilt into the public domain have kept Akhilesh stranded in his backyard. The SP leader has lost touch with his voters and the cascading effects have already set in.
The alliance strategy with the Congress in 2017 and comically, the BSP in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections failed rather spectacularly and the SP’s vote bank appears to have been compromised. It hasn’t helped Akhilesh or his party’s cause that he has been one of the few destructive politicians out there that have sown the seeds of vaccine hesitancy amongst the public.
With reports coming out that SP might tie up AIMIM, the Yadav voters are not going to be pleased with the former. Thus, the Brahmin voters become even more important for Akhilesh. Although, it would be difficult to persuade the voters to see beyond a polarising figure like Asaduddin Owaisi alongside him but desperate times call for desperate actions and there is no hiding the fact that Akhilesh is distressed.
The Brahmins, estimated to be above 10 per cent of the UP voters hold a decisive say in who forms the government in the state. BJP is heading into the elections with the Brahmin votes in its bag as 46 members of the community were elected in the previous election. However, BSP and SP are hopeful that their soft Hindutva reboot will help them snatch the bag.
These parties might still be inherently anti-Brahmin as the recent incident of an AAP leader foul mouthing Bhagwan Satyanarayan and Stalin government razing centuries-old temples in Coimbatore prove but the power of the vote bank has forced them to curb their instincts and take a much more subdued approach.