As India battles the grim COVID-19 situation, it would be interesting to watch how the tables turn for the BJP in upcoming assembly elections considering the massive fallout received by the UP government to control the COVID crisis.
UP garnered a huge fallout due to COVID-19, given the dismal healthcare system, poor educational setup, high migration of the population for seeking jobs, lack of employment opportunities. The question pertinent here is: will the fallout affect the political game of BJP in upcoming assembly elections 2022?
Conventionally, the politics in UP has been shaped out of polarised religion, caste issues and alliances. Looking back at the 2017 assembly elections in UP, the major alliance between SP and Congress failed to shell out votes going in for the BJP. Neither did the alliance successfully draw votes in its favour, nor was it able to stop the majoritarian storm voting for BJP.
Glancing at religious polarisation in the state, pieces of evidence like the construction of Ram Temple has at some ends hurt the sentiments of over 40 million Muslims, which will shower the votes in the direction of the Samajwadi Party. The BSP has not yet cleared its stance for upcoming elections. But evidently, Mayawati keeps her cards close to her chest, so it would be really exciting to watch how the BSP will contest this assembly election.
Also, another major factor that comes up is how the party in power in the state is propagating Hinduisation, which will eventually pave the way for votes in its direction. In the 2017 assembly elections, the BJP focused on drawing votes from all the segments of the Hindu Community in the state, be it OBC’s, Yadav’s or SC. The opposition focused on collecting votes from the Muslim community, failing miserably and it was not able to propel any of them to get a majority.
But the keynote in this election would be to see whether this Hindu consolidation strengthened or has fractures emerged?
The caste factor has the potential to change the entire discourse of assembly elections for BJP given the divide in the state between higher castes, especially Thakurs and lower castes like OBCs and Dalits on-farm laws. The digressed opinion on farm laws between distinct caste groups has the ability to cut off votes for the BJP and swing them in the lap of other political components.
In another landscape, over and above the various factors stated previously, which will shape out the political trajectory of BJP, is the elections amidst the COVID-19. The poor record of the Yogi government to control the crisis might give a blow to its regaining of term, eventually casting off brownie points it gained by propagating Hinduisation at an escalated scale.
More and more people are criticising the state, central government for the poor management of the COVID-19 crisis, which has depleted people’s trust in Narendra Modi and considerably in the BJP.
As the race has begun, it will be keen to watch how the BJP fares in the assembly elections 2022, which will also depend on the themes and messages it will use while campaigning for itself.