The BJP is formulating a fresh strategy to consolidate the crucial Jat vote of western Uttar Pradesh which had propelled it to power in the last three elections — to national and one in the state. Today, Union Minister Amit Shah met Parvesh Verma — the son of BJP’s former Delhi Chief Minister Sahib Singh Verma — at his home in Delhi for a strategy session ahead of the February 10 elections in the western Uttar Pradesh.
Mr Verma — the BJP MP from West Delhi –had put it as a meeting where Jat community leaders had come to flag their issues. Around 200 Jat leaders were present at the meeting. But sources said feelers were also sent to Rashtriya Lok Dal’s Jayant Choudhary over the possibility of an understanding.
Soon after, Jayant Choudhary tweeted a rebuff. “The invitation is not for me, give it to those 700 farmer families whose houses you have destroyed!!,” Mr Chaudhary said in a Hindi tweet, citing the farmers deaths during the long protest against farm laws.
Over the last year, the Jats had turned against the BJP following the agitation over the controversial farm laws. Now, more than ever, they are rallying behind the RLD leader, who has worked out an alliance with Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav, the BJP’s chief challenger in the state.
“Jayant Chaudhary has chosen a wrong path. The people of the Jat community will speak to him and our door is always open for him,” said Parvesh Verma, indicating that the BJP is hoping to capitalise from the escalating trouble within the RLD, and counting on the party to consider a realignment.
Over the last weeks, Jats in the Meerut belt have been hugely upset over some of the seats going to Samajwadi Party candidates. Protests have been loud in Siwalkhas, Sardhana and Hastinapur over the last weeks as lists of alliance candidates were announced.
Similar trouble is brewing in Muzaffarnagar, where the alliance has decided against fielding Muslims to keep theb Muslim vote intac. The area had around 40 per cent Muslim population.
In 2017, the BJP had won all six assembly seats in Muzaffarnagar district. Now Muslims are upset that they cannot send even a single leader of their community to the assembly to raise their concerns.
Today, Sanjeev Balyan, one of the biggest BJP leaders in Wester Uttar Pradesh, said the Jats have no resentment against the BJP.
“This perception is created before the elections but in the elections, Jats always vote for the BJP. Jats have always voted for the BJP. They voted for BJP in 2014, 2017 and in 2019,”he was quoted as saying by news agency PTI.
“I hope that this time also Jats will vote for BJP. Nobody wants Akhilesh Yadav to become the chief minister in Uttar Pradesh,” he had added.