Notebandhi and Expected Aarakshanbandhi Decisive Issues

With just days to go before UP hits the booths, Lucknow based independent pollsters are forecasting an upset victory for Mayawati’s Bahujan Samaj Party, better known by the acronym BSP. In November of 2017 the Bharathiya Janata Party and its mentor organization the RSS launched the now famous Demonetization, which overnight took out of circulation as estimated 80% of India’s currency.

The BJP described it as a ‘surgical strike’ on money on which taxes have not been paid. This led to tens of thousands of businesses all over Uttar Pradesh closing down or going into deep losses. The business community which has historically supported the BJP is deeply against it at this time. Baniya, Brahmin, Jain and Kushwaha communities are deeply against the BJP despite the success the RSS has had in influencing and winning over defectors from the BSP.

Rumor has it that just like the Notebandhi, there are plans for yet another surgical strike after the elections, this time targeting caste based reservations. There is growing support among the BJP’s upper caste rank and file for a complete cancellation of all caste based reservations for SC, OBC and MBC. This so called Aaarakshanbandhi or End of Reservation is expected to come with very little warning, in such a way that no rival organization gets the chance to react to it.

The BJP has been emboldened by the lack of effective leadership on the part of national organisations such as the Congress party, and has calculated this year as the perfect timing to cancel Caste based reservations for the so called OBC, MBC and SC castes. This rumored action has won the  BJP the almost total support of its Rajput base in UP, but has alienated Yadavs, Jatavs, Kushwaha, Kurmi other OBCs and the Jats who have been campaigning for reservations.

It has enraged OBC and SC community leaders that the stark poverty and deprivation triggered by demonetization, in addition to triggering a spate of suicides and bankruptcies also created yet another humiliation for the OBC-SC community. Many OBC and SC men were seen standing in line at sterilization centers since the government pays Rs 2000 for each vasectomy.

This has caught the attention of Rajput leaders who see the benefits of lowering the OBC-SC population which has largely sidelined Rajput power in Uttar Pradesh. Overall the anger and suffering and poverty that rural Uttar Pradesh has suffered over the last three months is expected to turn into a victory for the Bahujan Samaj Party since the SP is divided, the Congress is extinct and the BJP is facing public anger on an unprecedented scale.

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