Tough Challenge Ahead for a Cornered BJP

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The UP verdict is a clear indication of the shape of things to come if a coalition of SP, BSP, RLD, Congress and other smaller parties were to take on BJP, which swept the Lok Sabha polls in 2014 getting 73 out of the total 80 seats and again in the 2017 assembly polls getting 320 assembly seats. A report, for Different Truths.

The victory of RLD in Kairana Lok Sabha seat and SP in Noorpur assembly seat sets the tone for 2019 Lok Sabha polls for the Opposition parties to pull together. The UP verdict is a clear indication of the shape of things to come if a coalition of SP, BSP, RLD, Congress and other smaller parties were to take on BJP, which swept the Lok Sabha polls in 2014 getting 73 out of the total 80 seats and again in the 2017 assembly polls getting 320 assembly seats.

The RLD candidate in Kairana, Tabassum Hasan, and the SP candidate in Noorpur assembly seat, Naeem Ul Hasan, had support from BSP, Congress, and other smaller parties. Much significance is being attached to Kairana, where the vacancy was created due to death of sitting BJP MP Hukum Singh. The result is an indicator of the future politics in the state, especially in western UP, where the BJP had swept both the Lok Sabha and Assembly polls.

The victory of the RLD candidate by a margin of 44,618 votes has also helped the revival of RLD, which had been marginalised in 2014 Lok Sabha polls and later in the assembly elections. The Muzaffarnagar communal riots in 2013 had created a big wedge between the powerful Jat community and Muslims, resulting in huge losses to SP and the near-total marginalisation of RLD banking on the unity of Jat and Muslims.

Tabassum Hasan got the support from Muslims, Dalits and the Jats of western UP. The return of Jats from BJP to RLD now helps Ajit Singh and his son Jayant Choudhry to revive their party.

After the Muzaffarnagar riots, there was a clear communal polarisation between Jats and Muslims with the former turning to BJP in a big way. As a result, both father and son lost in the Lok Sabha elections. And the performance of RLD in the Assembly polls was very poor.

Apart from the raking up of Mohd Ali Jinnah photograph on the AMU campus, there was no communal polarisation for the BJP to exploit and the voters were more concerned about the sugarcane farmers being deprived of arrears to the tune several hundred of crores rupees.

There was a complete transfer of Dalits votes in favour of RLD and SP although BSP national president Mayawati kept a tactical silence without directly making an appeal to her voters to vote in favour of RLD and SP. So much so that the roadshow of PM Narendra Modi on the Baghpat national highway could not make any impact on the predetermined voters.

A series of meetings by CM Yogi Adityanath, the so-called Hindu poster boy, and other senior ministers in Kairana and Noorpur could not ensure victory for party candidates, including Mriganka Singh, daughter of the sitting MP Hukum Singh and Avani Singh in Bijnor.

The defeat in the two by-elections earlier in his own constituency Gorakhpur and Phulpur Lok Sabha seats has put a question mark over the leadership of Yogi Adityanath and his ability to govern the state. The message is loud and clear that people of the state are looking toward good governance and not communal polarisation.

Although BJP national president Amit Shah visited Lucknow after the humiliating defeat in Gorakhpur and Phulpur and held discussions with ministers as well as senior party leaders, there was no perceptible change on the ground, either in governance or the party setup.

The defeat in the four by-elections is something that will give sleepless nights to the BJP leaders ahead of the crucial 2019 general elections.

Pradeep Kapoor

©IPA Service 

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