Uttar Pradesh-The Biggest Prize in Indian Politics

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Uttar Pradesh India Elections

On the summer of 2014, India overwhelmingly voted one man to 7, Race course road. Behind that huge election victory was a huge propellant- a state named Uttar Pradesh. This mega hinterland of the country alone accounts for 80 seats of the total 540 seats in the Lok Sabha, out of which the BJP alone won a whooping 71 seats. The other parties were reduced to a rubble of 9 seats in total. This coming in a situation where BSP, SP and the Congress have been ruling the roost for the past 67 years. This victory, no doubt , was majorly powered by the image of Narendra Modi and his henchman, Amit Shah.

But things have changed since then, the honeymoon phase of the government is over. The government has been mired in a lot of controversies, including some that have questioned the secularism and liberty of citizens of the country. The Dadri lynching, the JNU debacle, the comments of some BJP honchos, the influence of RSS, and the latest Demonetisation policy has all contributed in diminishing, if not tarnishing, the image of the BJP in general. The Bihar election loss, albeit by a narrow margin, was a punch in the stomach for a government grappling desperately to show its influence still exists. Thus, it is safe to conclude that the Modi wave has lost its charm and the BJP is increasingly being portrayed as a misogynistic organisation struggling to have a modern outlook. The image has deteriorated so much , that it is almost considered cool to be “Anti- National”, a term coined for its own bane by the Modi Government.

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So, coming into the UP elections of 2017, which is scheduled to be held between February 11 to March 7, 2017 , the BJP has a far lesser chance of a majority than in 2014. But, does it mean the end of the road for BJP in UP? Definitely NO.

The current ruling party i.e. Samajwadi Party, has had an internal conflict right when the elections are around the corner. The party has split right in the middle , with the current Chief Minister , Akhilesh Yadav and his father and leader of the party, Mulayam Singh Yadav being on the opposite sides of the crossfire. This puts the SP in a spot, where they are not clear whom to portray as the CM candidate, nor are they sure of even a split in the party. A split in the party would destroy any chances the SP might have had, which was anyway narrowed by an anti-incumbency wave fuelled by Dadri and woman rapes. The many face-polishing efforts by Akhilesh Yadav has found few takers.

The next major party in fray is the BSP, a dalit party headed by Ms Mayawati, who ruled the state for half a decade from 2007-2012. This achievement by a woman was all the more commendable because it came from a state which was known to have a chauvinistic side to it. But what surprised most is that she not only became the Chief Minister , but also the supreme of the party, with no parallel voice. Although it was not good for a democracy to have a Phoolan-Devi like attitude, but this strength of character consolidated her position in a very firm way. BSP will take full advantage of the current split in SP , and also the anti-government wave currently prevailing. With the support of Dalits and Muslims, Mayawati is well in chance for the power battle with SP and BJP.

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The other major party in the state is the Congress, but after its performance in the Lok Sabha elections, it cannot be even called a major party of UP. The congress was battered and bruised , to say the least. But what is sadder is that they have not been able to improve their condition even after 3 years from the 2014 loss. In 2014, the Congress, the then ruling party, INC, secured 2 out of a total of 80 seats with both the seats being won by Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi, the biggest leaders of that party. When Narendra Modi came to Amethi and conducted a mass rally in 2014, it caused a huge blot on not only the image of Rahul Gandhi, but also the whole of Congress as a whole, that the opposition leader comes to the constituency of the Ruling Party’s PM prospect, and gain mass support shattered the confidence of congress.Thus ,it is safe to say that Congress alone can not do much alone in this election.

Let us wait for March 11, 2017 now , to know who will take away the biggest prize in Indian Elections.

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Harinandan H