Can Akhilesh bulldoze Yogiraj?
Uttar Pradesh is all set to go to the polls as the assembly elections in the state are scheduled to begin from February 10. Ahead of the polls, rallies and such gatherings have been banned across the state keeping in view the alarming upsurge in cases of the corona variant (Omicron).
The audacious state head has drawn the statistics of his mandate on the basis of 80% versus 20% which is again an presumptuous statement exuding much of chutzpah. Talking of the history of Uttar Pradesh, the state in fact leads the way to Parliament with 80 Members. The state politics always boasts about caste politics between aheer (Yadavs) and jatav (Dalits) whereas the Muslims are used as a big chunk of vote bank affecting the electoral equation as a whole.
The state in the past witnessed chief ministers of tall stature from the Bhartiya Janta Party, who came to power for a different agenda than the Hindu-Muslim card. Besides, it’s notably seen that the government changed hands between BSP (Bahujan Samaj Party) and SP (Samajwadi Party) by turns. The split in SP helped the saffron brigade form the government in 2017.
Ajay Singh Bisht aka Yogi Adityanath is believed to have perpetrated atrocities on the marginalised sections of society since he assumed office. Extra judicial killings at full throttle targeting the minorities went unbridled and unchecked; many innocents in the process were slain. This autocratic stance of Yogi earned him the tag of fascism that turned many against him. Though the Dalit vote contributed a good deal to BJP’s win, despite the fact, they were treated as rather oppressed. It was evident that Swami Prasad Maurya, a prominent face and minister in the state with five MLAs left the party and joined the SP which is growing stronger after reunion of the estranged family. This dent to the party has undermined the structure that could be seen in the upcoming elections.
Other than the dalits being shabbily treated then comes the issue of farmers who will turn out to be the waterloo not only for the BJP in the state but also the Albatross which could be seen hanging around the Centre in the general election due in 2024. Farmer votes that matter in the western UP will be garnered by Jayant Singh Chaudhary (Rastriya Lok Dal) which will ally with the Akhilesh led SP only to strengthen the formidable opposition. Mayawati’s dead elephant cannot make much difference on the polling turf and the congress already decimated is no major player in the race.
All India Majlis-E-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) led by Asaduddin Owaisi can woo the Muslim voters to a great extent. This polarization may help only ease the bumpy drive for the Right Winger. However, this so called 20 percenter going to the SP will be a game changer.
150 kilometres away from Delhi is Deoband, Saharanpur is one of the most prominent centres of Islamic education in the world. Adityanath laid the foundation of an Anti-Terrorism Squad training centre here with intent to eliminate terror, he said in his address. This again erects a wall dividing two of the communities. Besides, CM Yogi is heard to have been talking of Akhilesh Yadav as if he is the only threat to him in the election.
Clearing his stand Yogi talked of his peaceful reign without any communal flame ever reported from anywhere in the state which is baseless. As a matter of fact that’s what is turning the tables on him.
UTTAR PRADESH ELECTORAL BATTLEFIELD TO DECIDE LOK SABHA 2024
BJP will for certain leave no stone unturned to win the elections as the cadre claims to be well equipped in all respects. The BJP is going camping with all heavyweights including cabinet ministers and Members of Parliament. “All MPs, MLAs, ministers, public representatives and party officials will be a part of this campaign,” said the state BJP chief, Swatantra Dev Singh. The BJP is aiming to return to power with an even stronger mandate and has deployed its seniors leaders, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union home minister Amit Shah, in campaigning. Whereas, Akhilesh Yadav-led Samajwadi Party poses a serious threat to the ruling BJP in the state. Yadav has claimed that his party will win 400 of the 403 seats. The Uttar Pradesh unit of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is all set to launch a door-to-door campaign across the poll-bound state anytime soon. The campaign will underscore the achievements of the party government under Yogi Adityanath during his tenure till the term ends, which Samajwadi Party and his alliances will challenge.
Now the situation turns even worse when Yogi makes ‘80% versus 20%’ remark before the UP polls; which is absolutely communal as stated by the opposition. Ahead of the Uttar Pradesh assembly polls, many BJP MLAs and even Congress leader Imran Masood have joined hands with Samajwadi Party.
Ghaziabad adds 296,000 new voters to its rolls.
On the other hand, the 35 million (3.50 crore) plus beneficiaries of government schemes that BJP says are present in the state would be part of the target audience of the door-to-door contact campaign.
The party intends to reach out to every household falling under all 92,821 polling centres comprising 1,74,351 polling booths in the state.
In addition, the BJP will launch “LED Raths” with large screens after tomorrow Makar Sankranti on January 14 to be loud and clear with its message to the masses.
Now what’s left to be seen by the voters are the promises made in its manifesto (other than Hindu-Muslim or Mandir-Masjid episode) have been delivered. This election is more than crucial in many ways more importantly it will decide the mathematics of the 2024 Lok Sabha elections. This appears more obvious by the fact that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has visited the state 10 times in the last two months just to take stock of the whole situation. PM Modi, with chief minister Yogi Adityanath, has inaugurated numerous projects including important expressways. This very gesture sends out the clear signals to the voters ensuring that the work promised has well been delivered and also in times to come promises shall be translated into action. The chief minister Yogi has gone all out to woo the voters of the state by leading the BJP campaign from the front.
In 2017 elections, the BJP scripted a historic victory in the state – winning 312 assembly seats with a vote share of nearly 40 per cent. This was the BJP’s best performance in Uttar Pradesh since it got into the electoral fray in the state in 1980.
Let’s catch a fleeting glimpse and know that the party not only won the maximum number of seats, but it also registered its best-ever vote share and the best strike rate in the state. The hallmark of the 2017 assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh was the number of seats the BJP gained and also the huge loss of seats for the Samajwadi Party, which had been ruling the state since 2012.
While the BJP gained 272 seats, the Samajwadi Party lost 188 seats. The Bahujan Samaj Party and the Congress were the other losers in the electoral battle of 2017.
Quite clear is that the 2017 elections in Uttar Pradesh made the BJP reach the top in the run up to the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. The BJP won over 60 Lok Sabha seats in the state helping the party secure a huge victory in the 2019 national elections.
Now, as the party gears up to match its performance in the 2022 Uttar Pradesh assembly elections, it is aware of the likely impact the results of these polls could have on the 2024 Lok Sabha elections.
However, the war waged will see a new sun rise in the state with altogether new governance. Let’s not forget anti-incumbency factor as the history has witnessed in Delhi where the Delhiites rejected outright the Dikshit governance despite a makeover to the capital city and numerous other projects gone underway in her three consecutive terms. Even Jyoti Basu (CPI-M,6th and longest serving chief minister 1977 to 2000) and Buddhadeb Bhattacharya, communist legendary and icons of great stature were turned down after a long spell of their reign in west Bengal. BJD supremo CM Naveen Patnaik too had a tough time. Virbhadra Singh in Himachal Pradesh (INC, 6 terms, 5 times MP LS and 9 times MLA) and M Karunanidhi (DMK) were such instances who fell victim to the ire of their own voters who at times refused to recognize them in spite of all.
Nonetheless, it will be too early to say at this juncture as to who will lead the state.
By Syed wajid