BJP repeated the exceptional performance of 2014 general elections in 2019 too. Although, the number of seats won by the party in the state of Uttar Pradesh decreased from 71 to 62 the percentage of votes garnered increased from 42 to around halfway mark. The SP-BSP-RLD Mahagathbandhan won 15 seats, Apna Dal, the ally of BJP held the two seats won in last general election. The sharpest fall was witnessed in fortunes of Congress which lost the traditional stronghold of Amethi, the seat of party president Rahul Gandhi. The percentage of votes won by Congress registered a sharp decline (6.3 percent) and the party helped arch-rival BJP in some seats by playing ‘vote katua’ role.
The biggest gainer in the state was Mayawati led BSP which increased the tally from 0 to 10 with 19.3 percent of popular votes compared to 19.77 in 2014. In the previous general elections, BSP could not win a single seat in 2014 despite winning around 20 percent of popular vote and therefore decided to ally with SP to take on Modi-Shah juggernaut. The alliance reaped electoral dividends for the party and Mayawati emerged as the biggest beneficiary of Mahagathbandhan.
“Name of Akhilesh Yadav will be written in history for reviving a party which had gone down to zero seats in Lok Sabha Polls. Also there is a practical problem in the gathbandhan, when you analyse the results closely you will find out that seats which had majority of Dalits and Muslims were easily won, however where Yadav’s also played an important role, such seats swinged towards BJP. This makes it somewhat clear that the Yadavs have somewhat deserted their own party in the 2019 Lok Sabha Polls,” said political journalist Parvez Ahmad. The party won from Ambedkar Nagar, Amroha, Bijnor, Ghazipur, Ghosi, Lalganj, Nagina, Saharanpur, Shrawasti and Jaunpur parliamentary seats. Ritesh Pandey, Kunwar Danish Ali, Malook Nagar, Afzal Ansari, Atul Kumar Singh, Sangeeta Azad, Girish Chandra, Haji Fazlur Rehman, Ram Shiromani, Shyam Singh Yadav were winning candidates from respective constituencies. It is notable that four of the winning candidates are Muslims and therefore almost 50 percent of winning Mahagathbandhan are Muslims.
The loser in Mahagathbandhan was Akhilesh Yadav led Samajwadi Party (SP) which could win only 5 seats and therefore maintaining the previous tally while the vote percentage was reduced to 18 percent from 22.35 percent in 2014. The party remained where it started even after allying with BSP and RLD. One of the most ardent followers of dynastic politics, the party gave tickets to many members of the family. However, only major members of the clan Akhilesh Yadav and Mulayam Singh Yadav could save the bastion while other including Akhilesh’s wife Dimple Yadav nephews Akshay Yadav and Dharmendra Yadav lost the election. Except the Akhilesh Yadav and Mulayam Yadav, all the candidates who won were Muslim candidates. Moradabad from where ST Hasan won Rampur where Azam Khan won and Sambhal where Shafiq Ur Rehman Barq won.
For more details why Yadav voters voted for Narendra Modi read: Narendra Modi has become the leader of choice for Yadav voters in 2019
The Yadav voters deserted SP for BJP given their priority of Narendra Modi as a national candidate. The voting preference for Modi in the general elections also shows the maturity of Indian voters and their ability to differentiate between national issues and state issues. This ‘electoral maturity’ will help in the national development of India as people would make informed choices to lead them in the 21st century.
The performance of BSP in Uttar Pradesh in the 2019 general elections will give confidence and edge in upcoming 2022 assembly election. SP and BSP ruled the state interchangeably for most of the time in the last three decades. They are arch-rivals when it comes to state elections. The SP and BSP do not see eye to eye with each other since ‘Guest House episode’ which happened almost 24 years back on June 2, 1995. The SP and BSP were running a coalition government for one and a half years with Mulayam Singh Yadav as chief minister. Yadav came to learn that Mayawati is planning to withdraw from the government and responded in a very crude manner. As per a report published by The Indian Express, “The Samajwadi Party workers, armed with rifles and weapons, barged into a meeting room of the BSP workers… and assaulted the BSP legislators, ‘kidnapping’ some of them. Senior BSP leaders, including Ms Mayavati, slipped into a suite reserved for her in the guest house. The Lucknow SSP, Mr O P Singh, as well as his men, were a mute witness as the SP men snapped the telephone and power lines… and started beating [the BSP MLAs] with lathis. About 300 SP miscreants were led by over a dozen party MLAs, mostly with a criminal background.”
The incident resulted in more than two decades of rivalry until the ice was broken by Akhilesh Yadav forming an alliance. But, she might part ways with SP to go on its own for upcoming assembly election and this will be a huge blow to SP’s political future.
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