Phase Five Polls in UP: Split of Muslim Votes between SP-Cong Alliance and BSP to help BJP

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The BJP strategy has been to tackle polarisation of Muslim votes with the counter-polarisation of Hindu votes in its favour. Towards that end, we already have star campaigners, and Shah making communally aggressive statements, a strategy that had worked for the party, in 2014. So if the alliance does not bring in the expected Muslim votes for Akhilesh, then the very purpose of the tie-up is defeated. Prime Minister continues to galvanise youth, their hopes, and aspirations. The upper castes are almost en bloc with the BJP. Sections of Rajput and Brahmin electorate may have voted for BSP, in 2007, and for SP, in 2012, but, in 2017, their preference for BJP is more than apparent. It should not be forgotten that Mayawati has put up 100 Muslim candidates and confusion of any kind, is likely to favour the BJP. By the end of this phase of voting, the mandate seems clearly tilted towards the BJP, even in the rural pockets of the state. It seems the contest is now on for which party will be a close second – SP or the BSP. Navodita reports on the UP polls, exclusively for .

As the fifth phase of polling is underway in Uttar Pradesh, all eyes are set on the pocket of the Nehru-Gandhi family – Amethi. Samajwadi Party and the Congress did not manage to resolve their differences and there will be a three-cornered fight between Congress’ Ameeta Singh, Samajwadi Party’s controversial leader Gayatri Prajapati and BJP’s Garima Singh. With BJP making strong inroads into the constituency, this seems to be a prestige point for the Congress once again. So what does this phase have in store, here’s what you can expect:

The BJP has fielded Garima Singh, first wife of senior Congress leader and the local ‘king’ Sanjay Singh, against his second wife Ameeta Singh, the Congress candidate. Sanjay Singh is a Rajya Sabha member and the locals do not seem very enthused by the poor state of roads, erratic power supply in the region and soaring crime rate, too. There is a growing concern within the Congress that with the division of votes between the two candidates, the BJP might benefit.

Among other districts that go to polls are Balrampur, Gonda, , Ambedkar Nagar, Bahraich, Shravasti, Siddharth Nagar, Basti, Sant Kabir Nagar, and , donkey, Gujarat, Sultanpur. The ruling SP had won 37 seats out of 52 (total seats in this phase including Alapur), in 2012. Due to death of Samajwadi Party candidate Chandrashekhar Kanaujia in Alapur (Ambedkar Nagar), the EC has announced fresh voting in the constituency, on March 9. In all, 608 candidates are in the fray in this phase with maximum of 24 candidates in Amethi and minimum of six each in Kapilavastu and Etwa seats of Siddharth Nagar district.

As political invective continued, Modi hit back at Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister for his ‘donkey’ remark, asking him if he was afraid of the four-footed creatures of Gujarat.

“I take inspiration from the donkey because I work for people day and night…donkeys are loyal to their master,” he had said in Bahraich to counter SP chief’s reference to donkeys of Gujarat in a poll meeting earlier in Rae Bareli.

Earlier, K-A-S-A-B, had said, “Until Uttar Pradesh gets rid of K-A-S-A-B, there will be no development in the state. Ka (in Hindi) is for Congress, Sa for Samajwadi Party and Ba for Bahujan Samaj Party.”

BSP supremo Mayawati hit back at him saying, “There couldn’t be a bigger Kasab than him.” She also denounced Shah as a ‘terrorist’.

If Akhilesh loses the election, he might invite criticism for entering a foolish alliance. This will be justified for several reasons – one, he had given away seats which the party could have won; two, he had displeased party workers in many seats where the Congress is seen as only a marginal player; three, there’s no guarantee that Congress votes would get automatically transferred to the SP and vice versa; four, the arrangement left the Congress with an advantage- if it gets around 40 seats it might choose to go with the BSP if it falls marginally short of the majority mark. The bitter reality must have been apparent to Akhilesh Yadav so far – in more than a dozen seats SP rebels are in contest with the Congress candidates. The main idea behind the alliance was to keep the Muslim votes. However, with Mayawati’s BSP wooing the same votes aggressively, the possibility of a reverse consolidation among the Hindus was never anticipated.

The BJP strategy has been to tackle polarisation of Muslim votes with the counter-polarisation of Hindu votes in its favour. Towards that end, we already have star campaigners, Modi and Shah making communally aggressive statements, a strategy that had worked for the party, in 2014. So if the alliance does not bring in the expected Muslim votes for Akhilesh, then the very purpose of the tie-up is defeated. Thus, in practical terms, the Congress is of little electoral value to the SP. Akhilesh Yadav may just have to answer his party men for this.

Prime Minister Modi continues to galvanise youth, their hopes and aspirations. The upper castes are almost en bloc with the BJP. Sections of Rajput and Brahmin electorate may have voted for BSP, in 2007, and for SP, in 2012, but, in 2017, their preference for BJP is more than apparent. It should not be forgotten that Mayawati has put up 100 Muslim candidates and confusion of any kind (whether Muslims should vote for SP or BSP), is likely to favour the BJP.

By the end of this phase of voting, the mandate seems clearly tilted towards the BJP, even in the rural pockets of the state. It seems the contest is now on for which party will be a close second- SP or the BSP.

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Photos from the Net.

#IndiaPolls #UPPoll #BJP #Congress #MuslimVotes #Polarisation #Terrorist #PrimeMinisterModi #ElectionsIndia #DifferentTruths

Navodita Pande

Navodita Pande

Navodita Pande has been practicing yoga since she was 9 years in Iyengar Yoga. In April 1995, she performed at the International Yoga Seminar. In January 2003, Navodita taught at Hare Rama Hare Krishna Mandir in New York. Navodita had a Yoga show on NDTV 24x7 and was also the yoga trainer for Miss Delhi contestants in 2007. She currently teaches Yoga and Reiki to
people in Kanpur.
Navodita Pande

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