As the BJP inches towards the 2019 Lok Sabha election, it is trying to keep its flock of hard-earned voters together. In 2014, Uttar Pradesh contributed the maximum number of seats (73, including two of ally Apna Dal) to the BJP’s massive majority of 282 seats, with its allies contributing another 54. With the results of the recent bypolls going against the saffron party, and rumblings among the non-Yadav OBCs—who had supported the BJP in 2014 and also in 2017 assembly elections—becoming louder, the Yogi Adityanath government is now promising them a fixed quota of reservation within the 27 per cent earmarked for OBCs. Similarly, quota for the more downtrodden sections among Dalits is proposed to be fixed within the larger 21 per cent SC quota. Bhavna Vij-Aurora spoke to UP’s deputy chief minister Keshav Prasad Maurya, who belongs to the OBC Kushwaha community, for more details.
The CM has assured quota within quota for OBCs and Dalits. Can you explain what is being proposed?
This was first proposed by Rajnath Singh when he was chief minister in 2001 and he had constituted the ‘Samajik Nyay Samiti’ to look into the matter. The report said some ‘ati pichchda’ (extremely backward) and ‘ati dalit’ (extremely downtrodden) communities were not getting the benefits of reservation. So it was proposed to fix a quota for them within the larger quota. However, Mayawati didn’t agree and took the matter to court. Now, we have again revived the proposal.
Is it because of the BJP’s defeat in the Gorakhpur and Phulpur bypolls, the latter being your constituency?
These two elections went against us, and we have learnt our lessons. We are going to win the Kairana bypolls. Wait and see.
The non-Yadav OBCs had supported the BJP earlier. Do you think the party has lost their support?
It is about judicious distribution of benefits. So many years after independence, many OBC communities and Dalits remain backward, having been denied their share of reservation. Ensuring their rightful share is necessary for uplifting them.
Do you think the Yadavs have monopolised the quota meant for the OBCs?
I cannot say they have monopolised the quota, but they have been getting a huge chunk. Many communities have been left behind.
Isn’t it essential to implement the quota within quota scheme before the 2019 election for the BJP to benefit from it?
I cannot promise it will be implemented before the 2019 election. We still haven’t reached the last fight. But I can confidently say that irrespective of whether it is implemented or not, the BJP will sweep the state again with 73-plus seats.