New Delhi: Eyeing crucial backward castes votes in poll-bound Bihar, the BJP's newly created OBC Morcha will form its first state-level executive there and give due representation to the state leaders in its national executive as the party focuses on to win over the community.
Head of the Morcha, S P S Baghel said the Morcha will start its "struggle" from Bihar and winning it is their first goal. The OBCs form anywhere between 40 to 50 per cent of the total population there and have traditionally held the key to power.
"We will have our first state Morcha in Bihar. Bihar and UP are our two big challenges. Since Bihar is going to poll, we are focusing most on it. The national executive will be formed soon and the state will get its due representation in the Morcha's national executive," he told PTI.
While the dominant castes among the OBCs like Yadavs and Kurmis have traditionally backed regional satraps RJD's Lalu Prasad and JD(U)'s Nitish Kumar respectively, BJP is working overtime to woo smaller groups, who together are in majority, besides trying to dent RJD's vote bank of Yadavs.
BJP sources said the OBC Morcha will be of help in rallying round smaller castes and pointed out that Baghel, a three-time MP from Uttar Pradesh who joined BJP before Lok Sabha polls but lost, himself comes from one such community.
The Morcha is likely to hold a series of programmes in Bihar to woo these communities.
Without the crucial support of the OBCs, they said, it will be improbable for BJP to win power in either Bihar or UP. They also pointed out that BJP swept Lok Sabha elections in both the states last year on the back of their support.
"They are rather important in Bihar where upper castes are not more than 13-15 per cent. Over the years, many backward caste leaders have come to occupy key positions in the party there. The job of the Morcha will be to consolidate these groups behind us," a party leader said.
Reaching out to the OBCs, BJP chief Amit Shah had recently said the party had given the first Prime Minister and maximum chief ministers from the community.