The BJP Calculation Behind Induction Of Jitin Prasada

Jitin Prasada is a former Lok Sabha member from UP’s Dhaurahra constituency. (File)

Jitin Prasada, the BJP’s latest acquisition from the Congress, is expected to restore the support of a core constituency in Uttar Pradesh said to be upset with the party in recent days. Mr Prasada, a former Lok Sabha member from the state’s Dhaurahra constituency, is one of the Brahmin leaders from the state and the BJP is seen as hoping that his coming will help stem the tide of resentment among the community ahead of next year’s assembly elections.

The Brahmins, who comprise around 10 per cent of the state’s population, have been ardent BJP supporters since the early ’90s, when the Dalit votebank gained ascendancy in Uttar Pradesh with the Bahujan Samaj Party’s “Tilak, Tarazu aur Talwar” slogan, directed against the three upper castes.

But reports from the state suggest that the community has been deeply upset with the selection of Yogi Adityanath — belonging to the Rajput community  — for the top post.

The resentment flared up after last year’s Vikas Dubey encounter — even though many from the community have indicated that they had no personal sympathy with a known gangster.   

Yogi Adityanath — who has apparently upset even a section of his party leaders — will lead the party in the next year’s state elections, the BJP has made clear.

But the BJP is seen as being careful to take countermeasures to placate Brahmins. The sending of former bureaucrat AK Sharma — handpicked by Prime Minister Narendra Modi — to Lucknow is one such.

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Jitin Prasada — once among Rahul Gandhi’s inner circle and a two-time minister in the Manmohan Singh-led government — has had a career going downhill since. Since 2014, the BJP’s Rekha Verma has been representing the constituency in parliament.

Mr Prasada, one of the signatories of the explosive letter to Sonia Gandhi from the Congress rebels, was made the in-charge of the party’s campaign for West Bengal. But that too collapsed with the Congress failing to win a single seat in the recently concluded state election.

For the BJP — which has had no credible Brahmin face in the state since Kalraj Mishra — it is seen as a positive effort.

The party had made a similar effort in 2016 — inducting another Brahmin face from the Congress, Rita Bahuguna Joshi, daughter of former Uttar Pradesh chief minister Hemwati Nandan Bahuguna. But the attempt failed with Ms Bahuguna-Joshi having no mass following in the state.

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