Bhopal- When Mohan Yadav's name was announced as the Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh, it caught everyone by surprise, going against the speculations of pollsters and media houses, most of whom had placed their bets on Shiv Raj Singh Chauhan, the incumbent Chief Minister. Even Yadav himself could not believe his ears, and it took some time for the reality to sink in.
The BJP's move to appoint Yadav, an MLA from Ujjain, as the Chief Minister is seen as an attempt to make inroads into the Yadav vote share in the neighboring states of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. In these states, the party has struggled to gain votes from Yadav-led parties like Rashtriya Janata Dal in Bihar and Samajwadi Party in Uttar Pradesh.
The results of the caste-based survey in Bihar, published on 2nd October, confirmed that Yadavs constitute the largest caste group at 14%. This affirms that the Yadav community is the single largest bloc among the OBCs. The electoral strength of the community is evident as Lalu Prasad Yadav's Rashtriya Janata Dal ruled the state for 15 straight years, and even after emerging as the single largest party in 2015 and 2020, it shared power for an aggregate three years.
To mobilize Yadavs, the BJP organized a massive "Govardhan Mahotsav" in Patna last month, drawing the participation of over 21,000 Yadavs. The party aims to break the M-Y (Muslim-Yadav) combination used by the RJD for political gains.
Mohan Yadav's appointment is viewed as an attempt to make a dent in the Yadav vote bank.
In Uttar Pradesh, the Yadav community solidly supports the Samajwadi Party, although the BJP has managed to chip away some votes. Yadavs constitute about 9% of the state's population, and together with Muslim votes, the Samajwadi Party has emerged as the main opposition party in the state governed by the BJP with a full majority.
The Yadavs, comprising about 9% of the population in Uttar Pradesh, play a crucial role in many Lok Sabha constituencies like Etawah, Mainpuri, Azamgarh, and Balia.
The BJP has two MLAs and two MLCs from the Yadav community in Uttar Pradesh, with Girish Yadav representing the community in the Yogi cabinet. Bhojpuri film actor "Dinesh Lal Yadav" Nirahua won the Azamgarh Lok Sabha seat in June 2022, upsetting calculations as it is considered a stronghold of the Samajwadi Party due to a significant Yadav population.
The Mooknayak spoke to Rahul Yadav from the Samajwadi Party, who mentioned, “There is a lot of discrimination against the Yadav community in the state's recruitment process at every level. Until the BJP makes similar leadership changes in Uttar Pradesh, I don’t think it will be able to gain votes from the Yadav community.”
Sarvesh Yadav, founder and Editor of the Yadav Shakti Magazine in Lucknow, added, “Mohan Yadav's in-laws are from Sultanpur in Uttar Pradesh, and it is quite possible that the BJP can attract a major share of votes here. However, one needs to remember that the Yadav community also has a significant vote share in states like Haryana and Rajasthan. The surprise appointment of Mohan Yadav can have a spillover impact beyond UP and Bihar.”
Some prominent Yadavs appointed by the BJP at the central level include:
Bhupendra Yadav (Rajasthan) - Union Cabinet Minister for Environment, Forest and Climate Change; and Labour and Employment
Nityanand Rai (Bihar) - (MoS) Home
Rao Inderjeet Singh (Haryana) – Minister of State (Independent Charge) – Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation, Planning, and Corporate Affairs
Annapurna Devi (Jharkhand) - Minister of State for Education
Sudha Yadav (Haryana) - Parliamentary Board Member
Hansraj Gangaram Ahir (Chairman, National OBC Commission)
If the BJP succeeds in attracting the Yadav community into its fold, it will further reinforce its hold over OBC votes, as the party already commands control over a sizable vote share among other OBC castes. Ahead of the 2024 Lok Sabha Elections, the move to appoint a Yadav is seen as a masterstroke aimed at denting the impact of the Caste Census and muzzling voices clamoring for the census in states beyond Bihar and at the central level."