The BJP swept away the 2017 assembly election in Uttar Pradesh with 312 seats and a vote share of 39.7%. The alliance of SP-Congress failed to lure the electorate and wrapped up at 54 seats. The third prominent party in the state, BSP, was the worst affected among all. It managed only 19 seats with a vote share of 22.2%.
Most of the political pundits labelled the BJP’s victory in the state on the lines of breaking the deeply entrenched caste barrier among the voters. However, the reality is far from this. The saffron party very efficiently forged a non-Jatav Dalit, and non-Yadav OBC and most backward class electoral base. These specific electorates were fed up of their respective regional parties who did little for their welfare.
Communal politics was at its peak with Prime Minister Modi’s infamous ‘kabristaan vs shamshaan’ statement in Fatehpur. Party president Amit Shah clubbed all the opposition parties under the acronym of ‘KASAB’. BJP’s grass root campaigning also favoured them to a larger extent. Allegedly, a total of 10, 000 WhatsApp groups were formed to propagate their post-truth agenda. The Jats of Western UP were showing their allegiance towards Ajit Singh’s RLD, but since BJP again played along the caste line, they got their votes as well.
The newly appointed chief minister Yogi Adityanath has raised concerns among the liberals. The five-time MP from Gorakhpur is infamous for making communal statements. However, both the deputy chief ministers, Keshav Prasad Maurya and Dinesh Sharma, are from the OBC and upper caste respectively, thereby balancing out the high command’s tilt in the state. If the BJP actually wants to move on the path of development, it should refrain from targeting specific communities. The police force is in shambles and the agricultural rate is below the national level. Adityanath’s further steps will determine the fate of the state.
On the other hand, all the regional parties should gear up for the 2019 general elections. Mayawati is losing out on its core Dalit base as it won only 2 out of the 86 reserved seats. The SP, on the other hand, should be a strong oppositional force in the state to check the advances of the ruling BJP.