oppn parties UP Elections: Advantage BJP

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  • Crude prices fall sharply as Saudi Arabia assures normal production in a few weeks. Prices fall by 5.4% to $65.30 per barrel
  • Sensex tumbles 700 points over fears that rising crude prices will deal a body blow to the tottering Indian economy
  • As Rajeev Kumar fails to appear before the CBI despite several notices, the agency forms a special team to locate and apprehend him
  • S Jaishankar says Pakistan is not a normal neighbour and its behaviour is a "set of aberrations"
  • External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar says PoK in Indian territory and the country hopes to have physical jurisdiction over it one day
  • Barasat Sessions court near Kolkata rejects Rajeev Kumar anticipatory bail application citing lack of jurisdiction as the reason
  • PM Modi celebrates his birthday with Narmada aarti and later has lunch with his mother.
  • All 6 Bahujan Samaj Party MLAs merge with the Congress in Rajasthan
  • Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee to meet PM Modi on Wednesday, state issues on the agenda
  • Pakistan to open Kartarpur corridor on Nov 9
  • Rajeev Kumar, ex-police commissioner of Kolkata and wanted for questioning in the Sarada scam does not appear before the CBI despite the state administration requesting him to do so
  • Supreme Court asks the Centre to restore normalcy in J&K but keeping national interest in mind
  • As Trump accepts the invitation to attend a programme in Houston with PM Modi, India rushes to settle trade issues with US
  • After drone attack on Aramco's Suadi Arabia facility, oil prices jump 19% in intra-day trading causing worries for India
  • Imran Khan raises nuclear war bogey again, says if Pakistan loses a conventional war, it might fight till the end with its nuclear arsenal
Sunni Wakf Board and Nirvani Akhara write to the Supreme Court for a negotiated settlement to the Ayodhya dispute
oppn parties
UP Elections: Advantage BJP

By Sunil Garodia

About the Author

Sunil Garodia Editor-in-Chief of indiacommentary.com. Current Affairs analyst and political commentator. Writes for a number of publications.
As time for elections in UP near, the upheavals in the Samajwadi Party (SP) is queering the pitch. With Congress not getting any response from any party for its overtures for an electoral alliance, what was in any case going to be a four-cornered fight in most constituencies will now turn to five-cornered if the SP splits and Akhilesh fields his own candidates. On the other hand, if Congress ties up with Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) post the bonhomie over demonetization, there would still be four-cornered fights. In such a scenario, the BJP is likely to gain big time.

With BSP, SP and the Congress all vying for the votes of the poor, the backward classes and the Muslims, these votes are going to split. If Amit Shah manages a coup with the Dalits, like he did in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, then the BJP is well placed to turn it into an advantage for itself. The short-lived talks of a Bihar-style Mahagathbandhan in UP receded in the face of king-sized egos of opposition leaders and local compulsions. This has also turned out well for the BJP.

The internal feud in the Samajwadi Party has reduced its stock considerably. Given Akhilesh Yadav’s indifferent tenure, it was already facing a huge trust deficit among voters. The family war has made people think if it is good to place their destiny in the hands of leaders who run the party like family run corporations. With Mulayam’s second wife making a pitch for her son Prateek and his wife, this family feud shows no sign of ending. Even a united SP was not assured of retaining even its traditional bastions. Split, it faces a near rout.

Despite the state being the place from where both Sonia and Rahul fight Lok Sabha elections, the Congress stands nowhere in the UP equation. Hence, the party’s desperation to forge an alliance with either the SP or the BSP. It wants to ride on the coattails of regional parties to win some seats and retain the myth of its fast fading all-India presence. Frankly speaking, the Congress does not have local leaders who can bring it even a few seats. Shiela Dikshit, the probable CM face of the party, is named in the Sahara-Birla diaries. It’s UP unit has long fallen into the trap of just maintaining appearances and that was one of the main reasons for the party’s failures. The appointment of Raj Babbar as chief of the UP unit showed that the party was scraping the bottom of the barrel. Elections cannot be won by such tactics.

BSP is slowly emerging as the party that can give the BJP tough contest. Although Mayawati’s previous tenure’s as chief minister had given criminals a free run in UP, the lack of alternatives might force backward classes and Muslims to rally behind her to keep the BJP out. If Mayawati can play her cards right, she can trump Amit Shah’s strategy. But with the over Rs 100 crore deposit of old currency notes in bank account post demonetization coming to the fore, the party has to explain a lot. It remains to be seen how people accept that.

As for the BJP, though Amit Shah is concentrating hard on UP, there are several local permutations and combinations of caste and religious identity that he has to contend with. In the end, it will all boil down to how Shah manages to tackle these on a seat-to-seat basis. The biggest drawback for the BJP is its insistence on not naming the chief ministerial candidate. The delay is causing it dear. Prime Minister Modi will do his bit by campaigning extensively in the state. But ultimately, the voters need a local face with whom they can connect. The BJP must realize this and name its candidate at the earliest.