Once the center of Thakur-Brahmin politics, how now OBC-Dalit became the leader of Purvanchal politics?

The last leg of the Lok Sabha elections in Uttar Pradesh is to be fought in Purvanchal. Once upon a time the state and direction of Purvanchal politics was decided by Brahmins and Thakurs, but after Mandal Panch and Dalit political consciousness the political situation has changed. Now OBC-Dalits will also play an important role in Eastern UP politics. Political parties that politicize the OBC caste have their base in the eastern regions. In such a situation, BJP has brought together parties like Nishad Party, Subhaspa and Apna Dal, whose litmus test is to be held in this area. The real test of SP chief Akhilesh Yadav’s PDA (backward-dalit-minority) formula in alliance with the Congress will be in Purvanchal.

Purvanchal Pradesh has a total of 27 Lok Sabha constituencies, out of which 14 constituencies have gone to polls and voting is now on June 13. The 13 constituencies of UP that are going to polls in the seventh phase include Varanasi, Chandauli, Mirzapur, Ballia, Gazipur, Ghosi, Robertsganj, Salempur, Gorakhpur, Kushinagar, Deoria, Maharajganj and Bansgaon. In 2019, out of these 13 seats, BJP managed to win 11, its ally Apna Dal (S) two seats and BSP two seats. Congress and SP did not get a single seat, but this time the political landscape has changed. The opposition Indian Alliance has created a strong political cycle to make massive inroads into the backward castes, paving the way for the BJP.

Purvanchal was once completely dominated by Thakurs and Brahmins. From Kamala Pati Tripathi to Kalpanath Rai, Harishankar Tiwari, Amarmani Tripathi, Ramapati Ram Tripathi, Kalraj Mishra, Manoj Sinha, Mohan Singh, Shiv Pratap Shukla, Mata Prasad Pandey, Harshvardhan Singh, Former PM Chandrasekhar, Shiv Pratap Shahi, Veer Bahadur Singh. Purvanchal politics was centered around upper caste leaders like Brahmashankar Tripathi, Virendra Pratap Shahi. There was hardly a district in Purvanchal that was not dominated by a Thakur, Brahmin or Bhumihar leader, but after the 1990s, the Dalits and OBCs rose and were fully successful in establishing their dominance.

At the same time, SP’s socialist leaders managed to create political space by balancing with Thakurs and Brahmins, but some Yadav leaders were definitely against upper caste politics. When SP and BSP were in power, Dalit and OBC politics became stronger in Purvanchal. Leaders like Nishad Party president Sanjay Nishad and Subhaspi chief Om Prakash Rajbhar have emerged from Kanshiram’s political experiment and formed their own parties after breaking away from the BSP. Not only this, Sonelal Patel, the founder of Apna Dal, which has a political base in the Kurmi community, also left the BSP and formed his own party.

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