Mr Shah, sources disclosed, intervened after efforts by the state leadership failed to assuage these leaders
New Delhi: After feedback from election-bound Uttar Pradesh suggesting that the Akhilesh Yadav-led Samajwadi Party’s efforts to woo non-Yadav OBCs could impact the BJP’s poll prospects and that the Samajwadi chief was “personally in touch” with some senior BJP leaders of the community, including some sitting ministers in the Yogi Adityanath government, Union home minister Amit Shah personally intervened to placate some of the “disgruntled” OBC leaders.
The ruling BJP is likely to make an “important announcement” soon on the recruitment of 69,000 assistant school teachers, over which protests have been going on in the state over “irregularities” in the recruitment process, including the allocation of quotas for SCs/OBCs. The issue, it was learnt, also came up at deputy chief minister Keshav Prasad Maurya’s meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday. BJP ally Apna Dal (S) had also raised the issue with the BJP’s top brass on several occasions, urging them to resolve it as the OBCs, the state’s largest vote bank, was feeling let down by the recruitment process.
Speculation has been rife that the SP chief is in touch with at least 13-14 senior OBC leaders in the BJP, including sitting ministers, who have grievances with the CM over various issues. Mr Shah, sources disclosed, intervened after efforts by the state leadership failed to assuage these leaders and did not yield the desired results. Sources said Mr Shah told the OBC leaders that their “grievances will be addressed”.
After the Apna Dal faction led by its founder Sonelal Patel’s wife, Krishna Patel, allying with the SP, state politics has been abuzz that Mr Yadav has been aggressively wooing prominent leaders of the other faction and BJP ally Apna Dal(S) led by Union minister Anupriya Patel. Mr Yadav is trying to stitch up a rainbow alliance of non-Yadav OBCs, who have been strongly backing the BJP since 2014.
Both deputy chief minister Keshav Prasad Maurya and state unit chief Swatantra Dev Singh are prominent OBC faces in the party, which has launched a massive outreach drive to woo the numerically significant community.