On the 11th of March 2017, the most awaited election results were out. Five states went on polls and this election changed the road march to 2019 General Elections. It took one full week for the dust to settle down and get a superior analysis on what happened in the elections. By 18th of March 2017, all states got their Chief Ministers who have taken or scheduled to take oath for the top post. But the clear picture of what happened in each state’s election isn’t still available for the mass population. In this post, I would be discussing about the Uttar Pradesh elections.
So let’s start
India’s largest state by population with 403 assembly seats has a population little over 200 million is a home to Hindus, Muslims and various castes and sub-castes like Yadavs, Maurya, Kurmis, Lunias, etc… hasn’t been bifurcated since British times. Even during the State Re-organization Act of 1956, many states were bifurcated on linguistic lines but UP remained the same. Large size and high density of people from various castes and religion has made it one of the most backward states in India. Many political parties have milked votes for their personal benefits, leaving the major population jobless, oppressed and divided on communal lines.
The Indian National Congress has ruled the state for the longest time till 1989 while in between 1950 to 1989, sometimes the power got shifted to Bhartiya Kranti Dal and Janta Party, the INC was successful in running its government till 1989 when Mulayam Singh Yadav took the chair. Later on Kalyan Singh came to power as BJP formed the government based on the Ram Mandir issue in 1991. After 1991 Bahujan Samaj Party and Samajwadi Party ruled the state and BJP never formed government after 2002.
This divided the state on caste and religion lines. While each of the parties concentrated on Yadav, Jat and Muslim votes, the majority was left out in the government. In 2012 elections, 47 seats and 15% vote share, a distant third. BJP had to change every single move and concept to win the elections.
Reasons why BJP won the Uttar Pradesh Elections:-
- Failed Political outfits: – The Congress is the principal Opposition as a national party in India. But after the scam struck UPA II government, absence of Sonia Gandhi and failure of Rahul Gandhi as a leader made things easy for BJP. Other political parties like BSP and SP seemed to have lost enthusiasm as compared to enthusiasm of BJP.
- Modi-Amit Shah: – The duo from Gujarat has taken BJP for a storm. Amit Shah’s strategies and Modi’s campaigning has done a good job for the elections in the state.
- Social Engineering: – Uttar Pradesh is divided on castes and religion for votes since ages. Yadav’s vote for SP and Jat OBC for other parties in UP. This was sensed by BJP and fielded candidates not belonging to these castes. 20% of the upper castes and 20% of Other Backward Classes seemed to do magic for BJP.
- Alliance: – “Ek se bhaale do”. BJP got 13 crucial seats from Apna Dal (S) and Suheldev Bharatiya Samaj Party (SBSP) who catered the Kurmis and Rajbhars caste population in the state. This prevented division of votes on a large scale for both the parties.
- Demonetization: – The business class was unhappy they faced during the demonetization. They account to 5-6% of BJP’s voting population. Due to lack of political parties in the state with proper political agenda, these votes were retained by BJP. The major population was still happy by the government’s move of Demonetization – proving it didn’t fail atleast in the minds of the people.
- Feuds: – The fight between son and father seemed to have costed many seats for the Samajwadi Party. While this infighting was expected to get some sympathy to Akhilesh Yadav, the tables turned once the results were out.
- Seat distribution: – The Bhartiya Janta Party distributed the seats in the following manner: – 200 for the OBCs, 88 for the youth, 18 for Dalits, 14 for trader-centric population and 77 for women. While OBC candidates catered most of the castes in the state, Young leaders pushed the agenda of development. The women candidates connected well with the households by promoting schemes like LPG and Bank Accounts and business class was happy with their representation in the government. Seemed fine.
- Development: – The BJP spoke about development in most of its rallies. While other political parties concentrated on their comfort zones, BJP’s moves like LPG and PMJDY seemed to show faith in the new BJP
- Hindutva: – In 1991 elections, BJP came to power on the basis of the Ram Mandir issue. While BJP concentrated on development, some polarizing statements did the job.
Modi said, “Agar gaon mein kabristan hai, toh shamshan ghat bhi hona chahiye. Agar Ramzan pe bijli milti hai, to Diwali pe bhi milni chahiye…” (If there is a graveyard in the village, then there should be a cremation ground too; if electricity is freely available during Ramzan, then it should be freely available during Diwali too).
Amit Shah said “Uttar Pradesh ki janata is baar ke chunav mein is Kasab se mukti paa le. Kasab se mera matlab kuch aur mat nikaliyega. Kasab se mera matlab hai — KA se Congress, SA se Samajwadi Party aur B se BSP” (In this election, people of U.P. should get rid of Kasab… Do not take any other meaning when I say Kasab. What I mean by KASAB is — KA for Congress, SA for Samajwadi Party and B for BSP).
- Congress: – 113 seats for 6% vote share and 7 wins. That’s what Congress gave to the Samajwadi Party – Congress alliance. The alliance partners just forgot one basic rule: – Every state is not Bihar. They just forgot the Nithish Kumar factor and Akhilesh’s development agenda was mostly focussed in Lucknow. The number of seats given to Congress was way beyond any one’s imagination.
- RSS: – Uttar Pradesh is the BJP’s stronghold. The Hindu belt has always been strong for BJP due to RSS grassroot coverage. RSS acted as a mediator in many decisions unlike the difference in views during the Bihar Elections.
- Nationalism: – All the above agendas succeeded for BJP only because they gave a spark of patriotism. Surgical Strikes and Demonetization made BJP a pro-India party, likened by the youth.
- CM candidate: – Nomination of a CM candidate in Bihar was a mistake, but proved right in UP. Why? The state is divided on castes and selecting one candidate would lead to shifting of votes not in favour of BJP. While Yogi Adityanath was an RSS nominee, the state in first has two deputies namely Keshav Prasad Maurya of the Maurya community and Dinesh Sharma, ex-Mayor of Lucknow is well received by Hindus and Muslims for his development agendas. This serves all, but BJP would have lost a major chuck of seats had it nominated Yogi Adityanath as CM candidate. His surname doesn’t resemble any caste, name suggests no corruption, an RSS cadre and very strong politically but would have upsetted the Muslim vote-bank who have voted for BJP for development. An firebrand Hindu leader seems right today but not as a CM candidate. He is right for 2019 march but not for 2017. He is expected to deliver on development and this might change his image till General Elections.