Will Mulayam's 'Mandal bomb' bait work for Samajwadi Party?

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Now, Mulayam lobs 'Mandal bomb'
In an attempt to regain Samajwadi Party's lost ground among backward castes, its traditional vote bank, in Uttar Pradesh, party supremo Mulayam Singh on Friday played the Mandal card.

While addressing a gathering of SP workers during last day of party's three-day convention at Lucknow, MSY accused the BJP of depriving the backward castes of the benefits of the recommendations of the Mandal commission.

Mulayam attacks BJP for opposing Mandal commission

Mulayam attacked the BJP by recalling the latter's opposition over controversial recommendations made by the Mandal commission over OBC reservation in the 1990.

"(Former PM) Chandrashekhar had then supported the SP stance at the meeting, but the BJP didn't support it. As a result, a few backward castes were deprived of the concessions recommended by the Mandal Commission," said the former UP chief minister.

'Mandal bomb' refers to the era politics of 1990s when Mandal Commission report was implemented which had provision to give reservation to OBCs in Government jobs.

Caste based politics has always played a very significant role in Uttar Pradesh's politics. SP and its bete noire Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) have ruled country's most populous state with the help of backward and scheduled caste/tribes, respectively.

Why Mulayam wooing OBCs?

The Samajwadi Party had to face its worst ever poll defeat in UP in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls at the hands of the BJP. The ruling SP had won just 5 of the 80 Lok Sabha seats it had contested while the BJP and its ally Apna Dal, another OBC supporter regional party, had together won 73 seats from the Hindi heartland.

Mulayam lobs Mandal bomb to woo OBCs keeping Mission 2017 in mind

The Samajwadi Party had to suffer such a humiliating defeat because its traditional vote bank of backward classes shifted to the BJP, all thanks to Narendra Modi. Modi who himself hails from a backward community had consistently raised this issue and succeeded in transferring the support OBCs in his favour. As a result, the Samajwadi Party could win from where Mulayam and his family members had contested.

After Samajwadi Party's emphatic victory in the recently concluded bypolls, in which it had won 8 assembly seats vacated by BJP MLAs during general elections, the party once again hopes to capitalise on OBC votes.

MSY doing politics of 90's?

The party has witnessed a huge dip in its voter base ever since his son Akhilesh Yadav came to power in the state. There is massive anti-incumbency wave against the ruling party due to the Akhilesh Yadav government's failure to improve law and order, check rampant corruption and spate of communal violence in the state.

By raising the age-old issues of caste politics, Mulayam Singh is once again taking the state's politics to the era of 90's. At a time when talk of the poll season is 'development and corruption' MSY is once again cementing his party's grounds, for the 2017 Assembly elections, on the subject of reservation in colleges and government jobs.

Hence, it will be interesting to see if the 'evolved' voter of Uttar Pradesh, which rose above caste-based politics during the Lok Sabha polls, falls into MSY's trap or the party will have to bite the dust.

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