Uttar Pradesh is known as the state that makes or breaks the fate of a prime ministerial candidate in the general elections. The diversity of options and inconsistency of the voters is the reason behind labyrinthine Uttar Pradesh politics. Unlike Orissa, West Bengal, Tamil Nadu and Bihar etc, where the reign lies with a single party or chieftain, the battle of power in UP dims down to umpteen parties and leaders. The votes are largely divided between 2 national parties (Congress and BJP) and two regional, caste-based parties (SP and BSP) that makes UP elections very interesting and convoluted, at the same time. Ahead of the polls, it’s very difficult to predict the winner of state assembly or general assembly elections.

The truth is that unlike the underdeveloped eastern states, people in UP have less patience and more aspirations therefore they don’t grant many chances to the same political party multiple times.

The situation is somewhat similar this year. As BSP supremo Mayawati is desperate to salvage the imperial throne, a distressed father-son duo (Akhilesh and Mulayam Yadav) are struggling to control the speed of their own ‘cycles’. Amidst all uncertainties, a raging Rita Bahuguna Joshi, probably scorned by the Congress high command that clearly preferred Sheila Dixit over her, anxiously joined BJP to avenge her pride. The axiom ‘Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned‘ appropriately suits her situation. Bahuguna’s exit is probably the biggest setback for the Congress. It was sheer stupidity of the Congress leaders to choose a nefarious usurper from Delhi over a well-known local face in UP– an onerous battleground where you can’t afford to commit blunders like these.

While the regional parties were frantically dealing with the skeletons inside their closets, the BJP (relishing in the Modi wave) declared the names of 149 candidates in the first list for 2017 UP elections. Needless to say, we saw many fresh faces, perhaps because most of them are already working at the Centre. After the demonetisation weapon backfired hard on the PM, the party has bigger stakes in Uttar Pradesh. Realizing the crucial nature of UP polls, the party is trying to cash in youth aspirations.

The opposition heavily relies on ‘demonetisation’ and ‘Modi failures’ to secure their chances in UP elections. Contrary to this, BJP has conducted major experiments to win hearts, keeping in mind important factors like caste, class and religion. Earlier, the natives have given Bhartiya Janta Party a huge mandate in 2014 general elections and the party is headed for a saffron sweep, yet again.

Will BJP win the 2017 UP Elections?

To say the truth, the party has greater chances of winning the state elections this time, compared to earlier. Why?

  • Despite the strong ‘Hindutva’ image of the Prime Minister, he has the ability to attract votes from all castes and religions, a fact that was evident from 2014’s victory. Like ex-Chief Minister Kalyan Singh, Narendra Modi is a patron of backward classes. This is likely to work in the party’s favour since it would bar most of the Yadav, Jatav and Dalit votes in the state.
  • Regardless of what the media personnel say, many communities and people came out in the open to support demonetisation. When asked why they’re supporting BJP despite currency crunch and strict withdrawal limits, their reason was quite simple. A majority of people earn Rs. 7000 to Rs. 15000 per month. They’re least affected by daily or weekly withdrawal limits in ATMs and banks.
  • Deteriorating law and order conditions, women atrocities and underdevelopment are a few reasons due to which people prefer Modi, seeing that the PM has done commendable job in transforming the face of Gujarat.
  • Mayawati, as a solo commander had an upper hand in terms of law and order. Nevertheless, demonetisation has diluted her funds and BSP is solely reliant on cast-based votes this time.
  • The Samajwadi Party’s internal feuds have further secured BJP’s chances because with the split of the father-son duo, the votes will divide, thus leading BJP to its victory.

Despite so many positive points in its favour, the party has less than a few weeks to battle its own demons. BJP has more CM and PM aspirants than state workers. Also, the people are more inclined towards caste and less inclined towards development. Moreover, the Muslims, no matter how nicely the party treats them, can’t help but feel insecure due to RSS’s intervention.

Therefore, to ascertain its victory in the upcoming UP elections, the BJP state high command needs to fix up these minute glitches. As of now, we’re expecting the 149 BJP candidates to work wonders like they did in 2014 general elections.

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