Mumbai: Searching its lost vote bank in Uttar Pradesh, the Congress is eyeing the Most Backward Classes (MBCs) in the state to fortify the party position in 2012 assembly polls. For this, the party is not only following the Maharashtra pattern but also taking help from the state leaders.

Former Jalgaon MP and Congress leader Haribhau Thakare who attended the MBC conference in Lucknow said, “UP has 34 MBCs which have been a part of Other Backward Class. But the section has been devoid of benefit of reservation being provided to OBC category.”

The Congress is trying to grab the votes from this section by explaining the loss incurred to it.

During the pre-independence era, the Britishers had included 666 castes of India under the tribes more vulnerable to criminal offences. Former Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru had declared them as the liberated castes on August 31, 1952.

No other state except Maharashtra has taken initiatives for the upliftment of these castes.

On the contrary, they were construed as the shareholders in the 27 percent reservation being provided to the OBC as per the recommendations of the Mandal Commission. Maharashtra is the first state in the country to provide 4 percent reservation to these castes under the Basantrao Naik regime in 1963. Later former CM Sharad Pawar had increased it to 11 percent.