Is Uttar Pradesh Swinging Back The BJP Way?The latest Times Now-VMR survey shows startling results in Uttar Pradesh, the state that is mainly going to decide whether Prime Minister Modi gets a second term. The results are not going to be music to the ears of the opposition parties, especially Mayawati, charged as she is to become the PM. From a low of 36 seats a few weeks ago, the BJP has gone up to 50 seats. It shows that the party has been able to minimize its losses and is now in a very comfortable position, despite the supposed consolidation of Dalit-OBC-Muslim (DOM) votes.
By Sunil Garodia
Why is this happening? The biggest reason is that the Congress is dividing the opposition votes. The SP-BSP-RJD alliance had ignored the Congress as according to them it is a spent force in the state. But as the survey shows, the vote share of the party has increased to 11% while that of the alliance has dipped to 37.7%. Together, they could have trumped the BJP's vote share of 45%. But that was not to be after Mayawati trashed the Congress and closed the doors permanently. The other reasons are the breaking away of the Nishad Party from the alliance that will have a major impact in 4/5 seats in eastern UP and the discontent among the workers of SP and BSP regarding working for the other party in some places.
The trend shows that the more the alliance appeals to the Muslims and the Dalits not to split the votes, the more consolidation of upper caste Hindu votes will take place without the guarantee that DOM votes will not split. In fact, the very fact that the Congress has upped its vote share shows that the DOM votes are splitting in a big way. It also shows that complete transfer of votes between SP and BSP is only a theoretical assumption and does not happen on the ground.
Further, despite the opposition hue and cry that the Prime Minister is harping on the ultra-nationalism and the security angle just to deflect attention from the failure of his government, it seems that the strategy is paying rich dividends for the BJP. The people seemed to have liked his declaration of saaf niyat and majboot sarkar and are increasingly worried about handing over the reins of the nation to a lot of indecisive leaders who cannot even decide on who will be prime minister if they manage to win.
If BJP manages to get 50 or more seats in UP, there are reasons to believe that the NDA will return with a very comfortable majority. The opposition had its best chance in the state. There was simmering discontent against Yogi Adityanaths government and the hardcore Hindutva elements were dissatisfied because the Ram Mandir was not built. But it seems to have thrown away the chance by dividing opposition votes by keeping the Congress out of the alliance. Their caste arithmetic has gone awry. That is now more or less confirmed by the latest survey.
pic courtesy: both the lead and the body pictures sourced from images tweeted by @timesnow