Prof Sanjay Kumar: Dalit-OBC narrative favouring the SP for now

A narrative is sought to be built for the Yadavs, the Extremely Backward Classes and the Muslims – that the OBCs were ignored during the BJP rule and that their interests were put on the back burner. This narrative may have a significant impact, says Prof Sanjay Kumar

The pre-election ferment in the Uttar Pradesh politics has triggered all kinds of conjectures and claims. Many Dalit-OBC ministers, MLAs and leaders of the BJP have jumped on the Samajwadi Party (SP) bandwagon. What are the implications of these defections? Prof Sanjay Kumar, psephologist and director of Centre for the Study of Developing Societies (CSDS), spoke with FORWARD Press’ Hindi editor Nawal Kishore Kumar on these developments. This is the second and final part of the interview:

There is a general perception that the Pasmanda Muslims are used only as vote banks and they never get their due share in power. Do you think that things will be any different this time?  

Pasmanda Muslims were a topic of discussion in Bihar elections. That is not so in Uttar Pradesh. But the issue of their representation is being discussed. The AIMIM (All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen) has been telling the Pasmandas that different political parties have only given them lollipops. The parties sought their votes but weren’t interested in sending their representatives to the assembly. The AIMIM has been saying that all political parties used Pasmanda Muslims as vote banks but they did nothing in their interest. The AIMIM has been telling them about their share in the population, their status in different political parties, how many of them have won elections and so on. The AIMIM has been trying to woo Muslims in general. I don’t think it is targeting Pasmandas specifically.

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