The Brahmins of eastern Uttar Pradesh are not happy with any political party. Many claim that the Bharatiya Janata Party has ignored and suppressed them; the Congress has not yet won their trust back; and neither the Samajwadi Party nor the Bahujan Samaj Party are a comfortable fit. This conclusion emerged from my reporting across the region, where Brahmins form a significant part of the population and wield considerable influence. Conversations with district-level leaders, across the political spectrum, indicated that while all parties were courting the Brahmin vote, none could claim to have secured it. The common view among political observers and intellectuals was that the Brahmin community is dissatisfied with the BJP. Brahmins feel that the government of the ruling chief minister, Ajay Singh Bisht, popularly known as Yogi Adityanath, kept them out of powerful positions, and instead picked oppressed-caste leaders.
In the run-up to the ongoing assembly elections, ABP News reported that in December, the BJP’s Uttar Pradesh in-charge Dharmendra Pradhan met with the party’s senior Brahmin leaders to discuss its perception in the community. The leaders in attendance included Satyadev Pachauri, MP Sharma, Rita Bahuguna Joshi, Harish Dwivedi—the members of parliament from Kanpur, Noida, Allahabad and Basti, respectively—and Shrikant Sharma, a minister in the Adityanath government. Kalraj Mishra, the governor of Rajasthan, who was once a prominent face of the party in Uttar Pradesh, was also present at the meeting. The leaders reportedly told Pradhan that the Brahmin community felt “ignored” by the ruling party. “There is a perception problem,” one leader said. “Brahmins feel that Brahmin leaders don’t help them in getting their work done.” Another leader said “there is anger” within the community.