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Saturday, January 28, 2023

The BJP’s Hindu rainbow

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“The BJP has been able to forge a truly ‘Hindu’ rainbow coalition with all the Hindu communities extending reasonably good support to the party.” A scene from Navratri.
| Photo Credit: Vijay Soneji

The scale of the BJP’s victory shows that the party was able to forge a broad social coalition behind it. The party received great support among all the communities with the exception of Muslims. Yet, there are minor variations in the support that the BJP received across caste groups. As the post-poll survey indicates, OBCs, Patidars and upper castes are the bulwark of the BJP. But the party received less support from the OBCs compared to what it got from Patidars and upper caste voters. Among SCs, too, support for the BJP was less than the party’s overall vote share. However, this proportion was still greater than in 2017. In fact, support for the BJP increased among all the sections, except Muslims, compared to 2017. This and the entry of the AAP meant that Congress’s support among all the the social sections declined compared to 2017. The AAP received 12% and 15% of the vote share from the upper castes and Patidars, respectively, and a 16% vote share from the Kolis.

The BJP has been known for its social engineering. Both the BJP and the Congress have ensured that caste-based politics remains relevant by placing candidates from the same community in 57 out of the 142 unreserved seats. Moreover, several caste-backed social organisations, including the OBC organisations spearheaded by Alpesh Thakor, the Patidar agitation led by Hardik Patel, and the Dalit movement led by Jignesh Mevani, have further ensured that caste remains relevant. These agitations had dented the BJP’s winning proportion in 2017 and brought down the number of seats to less than 100. This time, the BJP ensured that many of these organisations and their leaders support it and even get tickets. This move placated the concerned communities and benefited the BJP.

The BJP has been able to forge a truly ‘Hindu’ rainbow coalition with all the Hindu communities extending reasonably good support to the party.

Bhanu Parmar is the State coordinator in Gujarat and Devesh Kumar is a researcher at Lokniti-CSDS



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