Few elections in the history of independent India have put the politics of the country to test. Both, the players of traditional politics and the parties with contemporary politics, either thrive or get trampled post such elections.
One such election is the upcoming state election of Uttar Pradesh (UP). I believe that the politics in UP has been at melting point since the Mandal Commission, and once again, the litmus test of the state is going to take place in 2022.
UP has closely witnessed the thick line of traditional politics, which creates divisions among religions.
In my opinion, the 2022 elections will either change the course of Indian politics or it will bury the shallowness, whose genesis was the Mandal Commission, of it. The politics of UP is not just about “the road to Delhi is via Lucknow”.
UP is that very state where 40% of its voters do not have their leader. These voters are on the fence and almost every political party is hungry for their votes.
If we go by statistics, there are 19% Muslims and 11% Brahmins who dwell in UP. They make up a total of 30% of its population. Unfortunately, no political party has enough leaders from these two communities to represent them.
If we were to understand the vote bank politics of UP, the vote bank of Akhilesh Yadav i.e., the Yadavs, can’t be easily dented. No one can touch Mayawati’s vote bank either, the Jatavs.
UP is a state with one of the highest rates of unemployment. The farmers of the state are worse off compared to farmers from other states. It is also a state where the educational and medical infrastructure is in an abyss. Yet, UP is a state which actually determines the equation in the Lok Sabha.
It’s about time the panchayat (village council) elections be considered because locals were contesting in it. The voters seemed to have decided that if they want to defeat the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), who wins does not matter.
Looking at the situation of the Vidhan Sabha elections, every political party has decided that they are going for the win.
The party that wants to win UP in 2022 and thereby, lay a red carpet to win the general elections in 2024 , are the ones who understand the significance of 2022.
As the state is preparing itself for this electoral exhibition, can any contesting MLA or sitting MP actually acknowledge the truth about the state?
The candidates who are planning to contest, do they have any idea about the unemployment rate of the state?
Do they have any idea regarding the financial plight of the farmers of the state and their day-to-day struggles? Do they have any idea of the situation of the migrant workers who returned home during the lockdowns?
Is it just a game of caste in UP at the end of the day? Every party is busy setting the field and positioning leaders of particular castes, which will benefit them electorally. This is the holy grail of UP politics.
There is an interesting factor in the upcoming election. UP’s labour department has an online portal, where one can register themselves if they happen to be unemployed. That number is more than 50 lakh as of now.
This is just the number of unemployed people who have registered on the platform.
Approximately 1.75 crore migrant workers, who returned amidst lockdowns, are in dismay and their financial plight is worse than ever. Will all these figures be presented by an MLA and an MP in the Vidhan Sabha and the parliament, respectively
Looking at the way the parliament is running, most certainly not. Even if this data is presented, what will be the outcome? How impactful will this be is the question every citizen needs to ponder upon.
I have seen top-tier politicians make statements about the caste system of the country, time and again. They feel like the caste system keeps the country running.
The unemployment rate doesn’t matter to them, nor the people who died because of polluted air and water. People who died due to poor medical infrastructure don’t matter either.
Let’s assume a hypothetical affair. What if 1.3 crore unemployed youth along with 2.5 crore framers of UP come together? No political party has an organisation consisting of as big a number as the unemployed youth in the state.
Akhilesh Yadav of the Samajwadi Party, speaks about his past governance. Ajay Bisht (Yogi Adityanath) also flexes his muscles with regard to his governance. Which of these two leaders have better governance and developmental policies is a debate for another time.
Despite the unending failures of politics in the state, people are still hopeful that 2022 will be the turning point of UP.
In conclusion, there are two main points to be noted about UP politics. First, will the 32-year-old Mandal politics meet its end? Second, the mockery of the system that the BJP government (post 2014) has contrived, will that come to an end in with the election results of UP?
Who will turn out to be a winner in 2022 is difficult to say today because there are still six months to go, and six months in UP is a very long time.
In the meantime, one can only say that the BJP has led to vikas (development) of poverty, unemployment and bankruptcy. Will the upcoming government safeguard UP from this?