More Brahmins, fewer Dalits among BSP candidates


Lucknow : Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) chief and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati Friday announced candidates for all 80 Lok Sabha seats in the state. The list has more Brahmins and fewer Dalits.

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Deviating from her past practice, Mayawati did not give the caste break up of her candidates at her press conference here. But her aides pointed out that their leader has been “generous with Brahmins”.

Of the 29 nominees picked from among Hindu upper castes, 20 are Brahmins, followed by four Thakurs, three Banias and two others.

While other backward classes (OBCs) got a handsome chunk of 20 seats, the number of Dalits did not exceed the 17 Lok Sabha constituencies reserved for the community.

These were followed by 14 Muslims, including Shafiqur Rehman Burque, who recently defected from the Samajwadi Party and has been fielded from Moradabad.

The preference for Brahmins in the BSP list indicates that Mayawati continues to bank on the “social engineering” formula of bringing together upper and lower castes that gave her power in Uttar Pradesh in 2007.

There are nearly half a dozen candidates with criminal antecedents and against whom a number of cases are pending.

Among these are D.P. Yadav, who is to be fielded from Budaun, Aruna Shankar Shukla ‘Anna’ (Unnao), Dhananjay Singh (Jaunpur), Mukhtar Ansari (Varanasi) and his brother Afzal Ansari from Ghazipur.

Bhishm Shankar Tiwari and Vinay Shankar Tiwari, the nominees from Sant Kabir Nagar and Gorakhpur respectively, are sons of don-turned minister Hari Shankar Tiwari.

One of the candidates is Jagdish Rana (Saharanpur), who was at the centre of a sex scandal exposed by a television channel.