BJP to woo OBCs in Gujarat; plans massive outreach

15-09-2017
DH

Party chief Amit Shah would address the Other Backward Classes at a meeting in Phagwel on September 18.

As state chief minister, Narendra Modi rolled out his public yatra in 2002 from the same village. The venue is considered lucky for the BJP and for Modi, who continued to reign over Gujarat as Chief Minister until he spearheaded the BJP to a massive victory in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections.

The party is keen to highlight its move to give constitutional status to the National Commission for OBC and expose Congress’ opposition to the Bill in Parliament, as stated by a BJP leader.

The party would also benefit from the government’s recent announcement to set up a panel to identify the most backward among the OBCs and create “quota within 
quota” for their empowerment.

Though the OBCs have voted for the BJP post-Ram mandir era, the party is keen to consolidate the votes to make sure it is not splintered in the wake of the Patel stir. Hardik Patel, who spearheads the agitation, is campaigning hard against the party among the Patels and the OBCs.

The 146 OBC sub-castes, which play a crucial role in about 70 of the 182 assembly seats, are spread across all the five regions of the state. Though most of them are into fishing and agriculture, they are also artisans and 
barbers.

Significantly, 36 Muslim sub-castes -- Bafan, Fakir, Gadhai and Ghanchi among them— are also included in the OBC list for government job benefits.

Both Hindus and Muslims hail from some of the OBC sub-castes like Dafer, Matwa, Hajam and Vanjara of Dang district. Hindu Matwas are called Gavlis.

Shah will also talk to representatives of cooperatives on September 18 evening. The BJP has set an ambitious target of 150 seats in the 182-strong Gujarat Assembly in the elections slated for the end of the years.

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