The BJP seesaw on the caste census, the reservation and the next UP elections


Rajbhar asked if the more backward castes like Binds, Nishads, Prajapatis, Sainis or Rajbhars got angry. Shah, he claims, told him not to worry about them. “They have alcohol and chicken… they can be bought,” he said, quoting Shah.

Barely six months away from the Uttar Pradesh assembly elections, Rajbhar once again reiterated his demand for a CBO chief minister as one of his five conditions for realigning with the BJP. He split from the BJP two years ago and accused the Saffron Party of hypocrisy. Before each election, CBOs and Dalits are reminded that they are Hindus. Once the elections were over, he said, the CBOs became Nauniyas and Nishads again.

The fact that the BJP is trying to correct the caste calculation became clear when the Union’s cabinet was enlarged last month. The government has made extraordinary efforts to make it known that 27 of the Union’s ministers now belong to the CBOs, up from 13 in 2019.

But that doesn’t seem to have impressed activists and academics. If the caste identity of Union ministers can be displayed in public, why not the caste of judges, vice-chancellors and other officials, they ask. There are no reservations in the private sector, justice, the media, private universities, Bollywood or in sport. Why not do a caste census since the caste identity seems to be the dominant identity?

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