oppn parties UP Elections: Advantage BJP

News Snippets

  • Mediators tell the protestors in Shaheen Bagh that the Supreme Court will listen to them more keenly if they remove the roadblock and move to an alternate site
  • No headway by mediators in the Shaheen Bagh imbroglio. Protestors say adjoining roads are running fine.
  • After China objects to Home Minister Amit Shah's Arunachal visit, India says China has no business to comment on the issue as the state is an integral part of India
  • The OBC "creamy layer" to be changed by including salary as part of the income that will decide the threshold. This will lead to many more getting left out
  • RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat says the word "nationalism" should not be used now as it has acquired negative connotations
  • UP Sunni Central Wakf Board accepts the 5-acre plot given by the government to rebuild the Babri masjid as per the terms of the Supreme Court order
  • Two dalits thrashed and abused in Rajasthan's Nagaur. Police arrest 7 persons
  • Supreme Court rejects curative petition in the Uphaar cinema fire case in Delhi and says there will be no further jail terms for the owners, the Ansal brothers
  • Government data placed in Parliament shows a sharp decline in job creation under its flagship employment generation schemes
  • The government is working to amend the Aadhar Act to make it possible for the Aadhar to be linked with the Voter's ID. Election Commission will simultaneously be empowered to link the two
  • Tapas Pal, former TMC MP, dies of cardiac arrest in Mumbai. He was questioned for his alleged involvement in the Rose Valley scam and gained notoriety for his rape remark in 2014.
  • Bypoll to panchayats in J&K, scheduled for March in eight phases, postponed due to security concerns.
  • Supreme Court says that overhead power transmission lines going through the Desert National Park in Jaisalmer in Rajasthan must go underground to save the Great Indian Bustard and the Lesser Florican
  • Pakistan not placed in FAFT blacklist but kept on the grey list with warning
  • The government is expected to announce duty cuts and other measures to combat business disruption due to coronavirus outbreak in China
Former principal secretary to PM Modi, Nripendra Mishra, appointed to head the temple committee of the Ram Janambhoomi Teertha Kshetra Trust
oppn parties
UP Elections: Advantage BJP

By Sunil Garodia
First publised on 2016-12-31 12:12:03

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.