Lucknow, May 14 UNI | 3 months ago

A Narendra Modi victory from Varanasi would see Uttar Pradesh once again electing a Prime Minister and that too an Other Backward Classes (OBC) community member.

After the implementation of the Mandal Commission by the V P Singh government in 1991, this would be the first time that an OBC politician, if exit polls are to be believed, could occupy the top post.

Among the OBC claimants to the post, it is Mr Modi from the Ghanchi caste, a minuscule minority among the OBCs in Gujarat and Rajasthan, who appears to be within striking distance of the coveted office.

Since Independence, Uttar Pradesh has had the unique distinction of producing most of the prime ministers, Jawaharlal Nehru, Lal Bahadur Shastri, Indira Gandhi, Rajiv Gandhi, VP Singh and Atal Bihari Vajpayee.

UP also enjoys the biggest clout in getting to elect 80 Lok Sabha MPs,the largest contingent from any state.

The past two decades or so, saw the ascent of caste-based regional parties - Samajwadi Party (SP) and Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP)in Uttar Pradesh.

Having consolidated their respective caste-based support base, SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav and BSP supremo Mayawati have made no secret of their willingness to stake their claim for the nation's top job. The BSP contested the last 2009 General Election on the sole plank of making 'Dalit ki beti' Mayawati the Prime Minister. This time, Mr Yadav is telling his party cadres that both the UPA and the NDA will fail to reach the magic number of 272 in the Lok Sabha leading to a situation where the Third Front, a conglomeration of non-Congress, non-BJP parties, will form the government.

In that scenario, Mr Yadav claims that the SP will play the crucial role as UP elects 80 MPs, and could go for a third front government with the support of other secular parties.

(Posted on 15-05-2014)