Mayawati plans to hold “Brahmin sammelans” across Uttar Pradesh from this week, trying to woo a community that has traditionally been with the BJP but increasingly feels victimised by the Yogi Adityanath government.
The first of these conventions is scheduled on July 23 in Ayodhya, a venue of symbolic importance for the BJP and the Brahmins, who had supported the Bahujan Samaj Party in the 2007 elections but later drifted away feeling neglected.
“The BJP misled the Brahmins in recent elections for their votes. But we all know what is happening with the Brahmins under the present government. They are disillusioned,” Mayawati said at a news conference in Lucknow on Sunday.
“I believe they will follow the example of the Dalits and vote for the BSP in (next year’s) Assembly elections. We shall reassemble the Brahmins under the BSP the way we had done in 2007.”
Mayawati said party general secretary and Rajya Sabha member Satish Chandra Mishra — the BSP’s Brahmin face who had mobilised the community’s support in 2007 — would pray at the temporary Ram temple on July 23 before addressing the Brahmins of the district.
“I have authorised Satish Chandra Mishra to start Brahmin conventions across Uttar Pradesh. It will start from Ayodhya on July 23 and the first phase of the campaign will conclude on July 29,” she said.
Each phase will cover six districts, with the entire state -— which has 75 districts — covered by the end of the year, Mayawati said.
“The Brahmins had voted for the BSP in 2007 and helped it form the government. We reciprocated by giving them honour and respect, but they fell prey to the BJP and supported them in subsequent elections,” she said.
Mayawati had formed the government in 2007 with the combined votes of the Brahmins, Dalits and Muslims.
Many Brahmins believe that Adityanath is targeting the community and promoting only his Kshatriya caste members in the administration and police.
Among incidents that have angered the community are a police constable’s shooting of Vivek Tiwari, an Apple executive, on a Lucknow road and the “encounter killings” of Kanpur gangster Vikas Dubey and his henchmen.
After Tiwari was shot dead in his car in September 2018, the police made vague allegations of crime against him. Many Brahmins believe the police were trying to protect constable Prashant Chaudhary, who allegedly shot Tiwari.
It didn’t help that Chaudhary was a member of the anti-Romeo squad that Adityanath had formed for women’s safety but which has become non-functional amid allegations of violence and harassment.
The Brahmins believe that Dubey and his men were killed in cold blood after they had surrendered. After Dubey’s killing, Mayawati had in July last year claimed the state’s Brahmins were terrorised.