BJP Has The Advantage Over Other Parties in Uttar Pradesh Polls, Say Political Pundits
16:04 GMT 25.02.2022 (Updated: 11:42 GMT 10.12.2022)
© AP Photo / DIPTENDU DUTTAIndian supporters of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) carry a party flag on their way to attend a campaign rally while wearing masks of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi ahead of the national elections in Siliguri on April 3, 2019
© AP Photo / DIPTENDU DUTTA
The state assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh started on 10 February and will end on 7 March. The results will be announced on 10 March. The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is hoping to retain its power.
The ongoing state assembly elections in India’s Uttar Pradesh are intensifying: as of now, four phases of polling have taken place and another three are scheduled for 27 February, 3 March and 7 March.
These polls are considered important in Indian politics as they usually give a foretaste of how the national elections - the next of which are due to take place in 2024 - are likely to go. According to reports, voter turnout in the first phase was 60.2 percent and in the second, third and fourth phases it was 64.4, 57.8 and 57.5 percent respectively.
Since the elections started, the Opposition parties - especially the state’s main opposition, the Samajwadi Party (SP) - have been quite aggressive in their campaigns, targeting the state ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on several topics including unemployment, and law and order.
However, as the polls have progressed, the BJP has been gradually overcoming their allegations. The leaders of the party, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi, federal Home Minister Amit Shah, Uttar Pradesh state chief Yogi Adityanath and others have launched a blatant attack on the Opposition parties.
At the beginning of the electoral battle the SP had an edge over the BJP, but as time has passed the advantage seems to be swinging back to the BJP.
Talking to Sputnik, political analyst Sanjeev Kaushik said: “The Samajwadi Party started the campaign aggressively and, to some extent, was successful in targeting the BJP. In the western part of the state, which includes rural districts such as Muzaffarnagar, Bulandshahr, Meerut, and 19 others, it was able to outpace the BJP by raising issues which concern farmers, and thus setting up the momentum.”
“However, this momentum didn’t continue, since the BJP realised that it has to revert to its own style of campaigning to attract its core voters. So, the party and its top leader started talking about Hindutva and nationalism, which is its main line of politics, in its electoral campaigns. This has given a slight boost to the BJP's campaign and the battle, which was once seen as neck-and-neck, has shifted towards BJP. And since the rest of the polling is to take place in BJ strongholds, I believe it has an advantage over the SP,” he stated.
Another political expert, Vinod Shukla, echoed Kaushik's views as he also believes that the BJP has a clear advantage in the crucial state assembly elections.
“The BJP might face a slight backlash in the first phase where they could suffer most damage. But in the remaining phases the party has managed to stage a comeback,” Shukla told Sputnik.
Citing the reasons for the BJP's comeback, he said that the party has managed to embrace social engineering this time, focusing on Dalit and Other Backward Class (OBC) votes.
“The BJP has been able to compensate for the Muslim votes it has lost by attracting the Dalit votes. Apart from this, there is a possibility that former state chief and Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) chief Mayawati might also go with the BJP after the polls. Also, the voting percentage till now hasn’t gone up significantly which is also good for the BJP. So, we can say that the BJP will form the government again in the state although with less number of seats,” Shukla stated.
The people of Uttar Pradesh have mixed feelings about these prognostications of a BJP victory.
Anant Dubey, a resident of Hardoi city in the state, told Sputnik: “People of the state are angry with the BJP as it has failed on various fronts. It has not been able to provide employment, it has mismanaged COVID, failed to solve the problems facing farmers, and many other things. In the last elections, people voted for the BJP expecting good results but things have not improved. So, the people are looking for a change and are going with the SP this time.”
However, a resident of Orai city, Kunal Verma, said that the BJP has been able to control law and order in the state, which had previously been in chaos.
“The governance of the BJP has been better than the previous governments of the SP and BSP. There have been no riots in the state in the past five years. We should also keep in mind that the BJP also dealt effectively with the unprecedented crisis of COVID. It has provided free foodgrains to people during the crisis. Farmers received money directly in their banks and subsidies reached the people directly. The schemes of the BJP government have benefited the common man and therefore now people will vote for the BJP,” Verma told Sputnik.
In the last state assembly elections in 2017, the BJP swept to a thumping victory by winning 312 seats out of 403. The main opposition party SP managed to win only 47 and the Congress only got nine seats.