14 Mar 2024

Lok Sabha Elections 2024: What BJP is doing to lure OBC voters in Haryana; was saffron party's move to replace Manohar Lal Khattar with Nayab Saini part of strategy?

Rahul Gandhi has been highlighting the participation of Other Backward Classes (OBCs) across various regions of India during the 'Bharat Jodo Nyaya Yatra'. Additionally, he brought attention to the low representation of OBC officers in bureaucracy during a parliamentary session.

Ahead of the Lok Sabha Elections-2024, the Congress has consistently targeted the BJP on this front.

Concurrently, the BJP has made a significant decision in Haryana by appointing Nayab Singh Saini, an OBC face, after the Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar resigned from the position. This move in a Jat-dominated state like Haryana raises questions about the BJP's strategy, especially in the context of its OBC-centric politics.

This decision follows a pattern observed in other states where BJP has replaced CMs before elections. The shift began in 2021 with the resignation of Gujarat's Chief Minister, Vijay Rupani. Subsequently, new Chief Ministers were appointed in states like Karnataka, Uttarakhand, and Tripura. Except Karnataka, the strategy of changing the CM had worked in favor of BJP.

In Haryana, approximately 44% of the population belongs to the OBC category. By appointing Saini, BJP aims to appeal to this significant voter base and counter the Congress's narrative on OBC representation.

There was discontent among BJP workers towards Khattar 

Internal party dynamics and discontent among BJP workers towards Khattar also played a role in this decision. Earlier, Mohan Yadav was made the CM in Madhya Pradesh also. He also comes from OBC community.

BJP's efforts to diversify its leadership by including Dalit faces like Ashok Tanwar, who recently joined the party, also reflect a broader strategy to address the concerns of different demographic groups in Haryana.

Out of 90 seats in Haryana, Jats dominate 40 seats. It is being said that Jats are unhappy with the removal of OP Dhankhar from the post of president in October last year. There were differences between Khattar and Dhankhar in the party and the government.

The BJP's decision to replace Khattar with Saini as Chief Minister of Haryana seems to be a calculated move aimed at consolidating support among OBCs and Dalits while navigating internal party dynamics and electoral considerations.

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