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In UP, how BJP allies failed to hold on to OBC base, dealt a blow to NDA

The Other Backward Classes (OBC) voters are a deciding factor in at least 50 Lok Sabha seats across Uttar Pradesh, as they are spread in all the regions of the state – East, West and Central – accounting for a lion’s share (50%) of the population.

The 2024 Lok Sabha poll results in UP reveal how Samajwadi Party (SP) chief Akhilesh Yadav’s pitch for PDA — Pichde (backward classes), Dalits, Alpasankhyak (minorities) – for the polls gave the performance of the INDIA bloc a boost, which ended up with 43 of the 80 seats with significant support of these communities.

Before the 2024 elections were declared, among OBCs, the SP was considered to only have the complete support of Yadavs, while its ally Congress had no dedicated vote base and depended on the SP vote bank.

On the other hand, the incumbent BJP-led NDA appeared to be in a better position by covering all dominant OBC sub-castes of UP, with the OBC-based parties like the Apna Dal (Sonelal), Suheldeo Bharatiya Samaj Party (SBSP), NISHAD Party and Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) in the BJP’s corner.

What the ruling camp seemed to have missed was how much these allies were themselves dependent on the faces of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath in the seats they contested, even as they failed to transfer the votes of their communities to the BJP candidates elsewhere.

The results show that the OBC sub-castes like Nishad, Kurmi (Patels, Gangwars, Niranjans, Vermas), Rajbhar, Prajapati, Kumhar, Loniya, Sainthwar, Nau and Jats, who dominate in over 40 seats across the state, and were earlier counted among the NDA supporters, flipped and backed the INDIA alliance.

Aware of the crucial significance of the backward castes in UP, the BJP began its groundwork early,

Read more on indianexpress.com