Uttar Pradesh can aptly be defined as the epicenter of Indian Politics. The state has been responsible both for the emergence of new political powers and the breaking of existing ones. Such has been the political significance of UP, that the former Prime Minister Vajpayee too was compelled to admit that the path to Delhi goes through Lucknow. It is ironical that even after being politically active virtually since 1857 when the first freedom struggle took place, the social dynamics of UP have been by far deplorable. It is even more paradoxical that even after being under the influence of apparent ‘socialists’, a large chunk of UP population is devoid of even the most basic of amenities. Most of the Human development indicators of UP remain way below the National Average. The biggest State of India in terms of population will go to polls in 2017 and the UP Elections will be historic for they will determine whether UP will continue to live in the 19th Century era or it will go through a transformation. The Bhartiya Janta Party seems to be well placed to effect its biggest victory since 2014 Lok Sabha Elections for a host of reasons which are hereinafter discussed.
UP Elections: Momentum after Assam victory
The BJP achieved an unbelievable victory last month which extended its presence into the North Eastern region which had thus far eluded the BJP. The victory was significant in the sense that the BJP is no longer a party restricted to urban and semi urban regions but it seems to be gaining presence in the tribal as well as rural regions.
The same BJP karyakarta who seemed to be unenthusiastic and somewhat cynical after Delhi and Bihar defeats are now showing remarkable enthusiasm and vitality after the historic victory in Assam. Even though there is great difference between the religion and caste dynamics of Assam and Uttar Pradesh, the social and economic problems faced by the two states are very much similar. Moreover, both the states are composed of rural majority population. Thus, some of the election strategies employed in Assam can be imported to Uttar Pradesh also.
UP Elections: No Bihar like alliance in UP
The BJP had retained a large chunk of its Lok Sabha vote share in the Bihar Assembly Elections and the same is also true in case of Delhi Elections. In fact the BJP seems to be replicating its electoral performance and retaining its vote share in all the Assembly Elections post the 2014 General Elections. The BJP is not losing popularity among the voters but the two defeats can be attributed to the nonperformance by the Congress in Delhi implying transfer of its vote share to the AAP and the grand alliance in case of Bihar which resulted in consolidation of votes for the self-certified secular Anti BJP front.
Fortunately, the Political dynamics of Uttar Pradesh are such that a Bihar like anti BJP alliance in the UP elections seems unlikely particularly after the BSP supremo Maywati having ruled out a pre poll alliance in UP in the December month of the last year itself and Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad making a similar remark this Friday. The extremely hostile relations between the BSP and the SP and an ever deteriorating Congress have made a pre poll alliance improbable in UP. If the pattern of BJP retaining a significant portion of its Lok Sabha Vote share continues then the BJP’s vote share might hover somewhere in the late 30s given that its vote share in the General Elections was 42.3% and with the rest of the votes getting divided between the Congress, the SP and the BSP, the BJP would surely be in the driver’s seat.
UP Elections: Poor governance and anti-incumbency in UP
The SP Government’s performance in UP has been indescribably miserable with most of its poll promises remaining unfulfilled. True to its infamous character, the law and order situation of UP has taken a huge toll under the SP Government and the only visible signs of any economic development in UP are the deceptive advertisements of the SP Government. All this has resulted in visible anti-incumbency in the State. In fact, what Uttar Pradesh is experiencing is not just an anti-incumbency wave but a sense of anger towards the BSP and the SP, the two regional parties for continuous deprivation and stagnancy in the state.
The BJP seems to be the only rising force in the State with obvious deterioration of the Congress throughout India and anti-incumbency wave against the SP and to some extent against the BSP for prolonged deplorability of UP.
UP Elections: Favorable Polarization for BJP
The Kairana Exodus was just another example of deplorable law and order situation under the SP Government and classical example of selective outrage from the media and the anti BJP front which sports the masks of secularism, egalitarianism and empathy depending upon the caste, religion and place of tragedy.
The inaction by the SP Government over the displacement of en masse displacement of the Hindu families along with absolute silence from the BSP and the Congress exposed their anti-Hindu agenda. The only political outfit which reached out to the victims was the BJP through its delegation. Religious polarization has undoubtedly kicked off in the state of UP and the BJP seems to have got an edge over its opponents.