The hurly-burly in Uttar Pradesh, the most populated state have begun with the divestment of date-sheet for the upcoming poll elections in five states, has been floated by Election Commission which are going to be held between 11th February to 8th March 2017, in 7 phases. The state with the maximum number of both legislative and general assembly seats has always been the center of attention for people who take interest in politics. One more thing which makes UP an epitome of Indian political discourse is the figure that, by now, eight out of fourteen prime ministers to India have been given by the state.
Election over 403 legislative assembly seats will likely to be started next month. While delisting the parties election commission released a data which shows that unitedly there are maximum total 472 small and big parties running in the state. But in UP Three national parties: BJP, BSP, INC and a state party SP, has been ruling the state since 2012, used to get the major chunks of the votes.
The diplomatic maneuver in Uttar Pradesh has a significant influence of polarization of votes on the basis of caste and community. The way, the political parties are campaigning to achieve the numbers, approves the caste effect measurably. Each political party has its own hegemony over one or two communities, particularly, which are assumed as their vote banks.
SP has Yadavs, BSP has Dalits, Upper-Castes go for BJP. Muslims supposed to be as the conventional vote bank of Congress but in U.P. the privilege gets extorted by SP.
Since significant chances of ties between Congress and SP are coming round, the battle for the most desirable victory would be more complex and gets tougher for other parties especially BJP.
In 2012 elections, SP cleared the majority mark by swiping off 224 seats but its total vote share stayed near about 30%. It is the sum sets equal around the number of voters belong to Muslim (18%), Yadav (8.5%) and Kurmi (3%), which are assumed to be adherent towards SP. Dalits in UP shares a margin of 22% out of which 14% are Jatavs, who showed adherence towards BSP by now. BJP generally relies on its conventional upper caste votes i.e. Brahmins (10%), Rajputs (8.50%) and also on OBCs (leaving Yadavs and Kurmis).
Dr. Dham, a Buddhist preacher has conducted meetings in around 250 Dalit villages to swipe Dalit votes to BJP from Mayawati. Since the general election victory, BJP has been following the strategy of projecting Narendra Modi as the star campaigner and not announcing CM candidate in any L.A. election.
BJP president Amit Shah has shown his apprehensive approach earlier in the 2014 general election by acquiring 71 seats out of 80 in the caste-politics arena. Yes, Legislative assembly and the General assembly elections both are the distinct events as the BJP which had got all the 7 seats in Delhi in 2014 elections, could obtain just 3 seats out of 70 in poll elections. But when it comes to politics in UP, the predictions can or cannot be determined in view of the fact what happened in Delhi.
But what if 2014 marginally repeats in 2017?
Shah showed up his adroitness in partys’ previous victories in the legislative elections. Haryana, Maharashtra, Jammu, and Kashmir are the glimpses, where BJP had stood miserable earlier. It is the first poll election for Shah in UP after sitting on the saddle of Party president. The speculation of making alliance with other parties to get the numbers in the assembly may occur despite the denial as parties do not get hesitate in showing departure from their principles and words.
Jammu & Kashmir and Arunachal Pradesh are instances how BJP is expanding its outreach into the territories with least possibility to be in power.
Let’s back to UP. So far Amit Shah was following the strategy to ascertain Yadav votes to SP but intercept Muslims from giving vote to BSP. Muslims in UP tend to cast votes to the contender opposes BJP strongly. “Parivartan Rally” headed by Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, a Shia Muslim, would not be effective to change the Muslim mindset, which is Sunni, dominantly. It is imperative for BJP to prevent Muslims from casting votes to BSP as Both Dalits and Muslims together constitute 40% votes that ensure victory for any political party. BSP supremo Mayawati announced to satge 97 Muslim candidates to ensure exertion of a large chunk of Muslim votes in its pocket. Mayawati said to have 87 Dalit candidates on BSP ticket.
Keshav Prasad Maurya, has assimilated into BJP, been made state president, will fetch OBC votes. Maurya could be seen as the incumbent CM if BJP gains the majority. Out of the total, around 80-85 seats are affected by the upper caste voters, BJP expects to get 70 out of it.
In the Kewat and Nishad dominated villages BJP is boasting about the surgical strike, what Amit Shah has been said to do in UP. Fragmentation of 13 BSP MLAs may be seen as an effort to gain Dalit votes but the cases of atrocities against Dalits in Una and Rohit Vemula’s mother Radhika Vemula also seen campaigning against BJP, denies of such under-plot for BJP. 3 MLAs from Congress 3 from SP had also joined BJP.
Indemnification of Yadav votes to SP directs Upper castes to cast their vote to BJP. Mujaffarnagar riots also proved to be a major setback for SP. Mulayam Singh enjoyed the leisure of Safai-Mahotsav nearby the spot of mass killing.
The ongoing tussles between the first family members of SP did nothing but enhanced the stature and built the image of Akhilesh Yadav among the mass and party workers. Akhilesh Yadav emerged as a face of development out of the patriarchal party in the sicken state. During his tenure, construction of Highways connecting 44 districts has been done. Metro starts in Lucknow though severe pitfalls are on the roads are there in the city. IT city project worth 1500cr is in the pipeline, International Cricket Stadium and a Cancer Hospital also proposed at the outskirts of Lucknow. Akhilesh announced to provide compensation up to 2-3 lakhs who lost their lives due to standing in lines outside banks or ATMs caused by demonetisation. SP govt. has distributed laptops and said to give smart phones if come back into the power.
UP govt. sent a draft shuffling of 17 OBC castes to the central government. Now it has become a checkmate situation for BJP taking action on it as it puts both Upper caste and Dalit votes on stake.
Reeta Bahuguna Joshi joined BJP after Congress named Shiela Dixit as their CM candidate to entice Brahmin votes, this tactic may act adversely against party. The oldest political party incessantly making rallies and mingling with Farmers and indigent section and drafting BJP as an Upper-Middle class people’s party or moreover as Ambani-Adani’s Party. It is very hard to say that the slogan “27 saal, UP Behaal” will work for Congress after a steep declination in credibility post 2014 general election.
UP where almost three quarter populations reside in rural areas among which hardly 3% own credit cards, suffer the most after demonetisation announcement. Three quarter percent mass in UP dependent on agriculture facing the side effects of busting import tax from 25 to 0% on wheat that is beneficial for farmers outside India. And it has been done in the year when crops cultivated well in the countryside. The minimum selling price for wheat crop has reduced from 1400 per quintal to 600-700 per quintal. It led the Khap-Mahapanchayats in western UP raising eyebrows against Modi. Jats in this part of the state gave its mandate to BJP in 2014 election seem ireful before poll elections and said to not casting their votes to BJP again. By guessing the magnitude of wooing the peasants in UP, Congress announced to waive off debts through “Kisaan Karz Maafi-Nama” if comes in power.
The very first list of 149 candidates released by BJP constitutes 56 Jats, Gujjar, Lodh and non-Yadav OBC candidates. It shows that where this election will likely go to. Akhilesh Yadav got the symbol enhanced his position both in both party and public domain.
Now after high voltage SP first family drama and the high speculations of SP-INC alliance, the only thing remains in this election worth watching is
Data sources: ‘Jansatta’ newspaper and ‘The Indian Express’