NDA to bank on Nishad community for 2024 polls

West Bengal panchayat polls

As the 2024 Lok Sabha elections approach, political parties are busy formulating their strategies. These parties are actively engaging with the public to implement their strategies on the ground and secure the necessary support for the targeted vote bank. In the same vein, the NDA is currently seeking the support of the Nishad community to make it through the 2024 Lok Sabha elections in Uttar Pradesh. Consequently, the issue of encroachments and the construction of mosques on the Nishad Raj fortress land have become politically significant, especially in the wake of the Gyanvapi issue in Varanasi and the Shahi-Idgah in Mathura.
Sanjay Nishad, the National President of the Nishad Party, has for a long time demanded the construction of a grand fort on the land the mosque stands on, even stating during the party’s foundation day event that if the Muslim community and the Mosque Management Committee do not hand over “our legacy to our community, we will fight fiercely for it.” This fight will not only be legal but will also extend to the political and social arenas. The Nishad Party now hopes for support from the BJP for this demand. Due to this, Deputy Chief Minister of UP, Keshav Prasad Maurya, has openly extended support for Nishad’s demand and announced publicly: “Whether the fortress of Nishad Raj is 300 feet or 3,000 feet below the ground in Shringaverpur, no unauthorised occupation will remain, and the grand fortress of Nishad Raj will be constructed there.”
The Nishad community’s vote share in Uttar Pradesh is 18 percent, which has a direct impact on almost 165 state Assembly seats and around 30-35 Lok Sabha seats in the Purvanchal-Avadh region. As caste-based politics has been dominant in UP, all political parties have been formulating their election strategies based on caste-based figures.
Thus, the 2024 Lok Sabha elections hold immense importance for the NDA. This is why the BJP aims to secure the vote banks of communities like Nishad, Kashyap, Mallah, Bind, Mathua, Kahar, and Kevat in these constituencies with the support of the Nishad Party. The issue of constructing Nishad Raj’s fortress in Shringaverpur could become a significant political move, enabling the NDA to achieve a big victory in the Lok Sabha elections in UP and maintain its hold on central power. This might also prove Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s announcement made on 15 August true, where he stated that in 2024, he would once again hoist the flag as the Prime Minister from the Red Fort.
While the Opposition might criticise the NDA’s component parties for adopting such election tactics to deflect public questions or accuse BJP’s ally parties of “blindly following” the BJP’s path, currently, this issue holds great hope for the NDA to consolidate a significant vote bank in UP.