UP Elections


Wave Of Hindutva Or Revamping Of Mandal Politics?

The Indian democracy will see five elections this year, the most important and most contested of which is the UP elections, being the largest contributor to the parliamentary elections, winning Uttar Pradesh has always been the key towards winning the Hindu Heartland. Uttar Pradesh, India's most populated state with a population of over 23 crores, is going to have its state election for 403 legislative seats from 10 February to 7 March in seven phases and results will be declared on 10 March. 


UP is the heart of Hindutva Politics. The Mascot of BJP’s political empire which stretches across the nation. UP is also BJP’s template for electoral politics. In the 2017 assembly election, the BJP had won a massive 325 seats while the then Alliance of SP and the Congress had to settle for 54 seats only. If the 2017 UP polls were defined as a wave of Hindutva, then can 2022 be defined as the comeback of Mandal Politics. 


It may be too early for prediction, but that seems to be a new yearning amongst the backward castes (OBC). The intensity of this assertion will determine the result of the UP election. The resignation of Swami Prasad Maurya and Dana Singh Chauhan from BJP and their entry into the Samajwadi Party (SP) is certainly a defining moment in the opposition campaign in this politically crucial


Pre-Poll Defections Are A Menace For The BJP



Swami Prasad Maurya is no ordinary caste leader in UP politics. He had a long and resourceful inning in the BSP and was a core team member of the Mayawati Government. But after Mayawati's defeat in 2012 and 2014. He moved to BJP on the eve of the 2017 state election. 


The BJP racked up a spectacular victory and Swami Prasad Maurya got rewarded as a Cabinet Minister. Though he was never close to Yogi Adityananth, he stayed loyal to BJP till a few months ago. He belongs to the Mauryas, the third-highest OBC group in the state after Yadavs and Kurmis, and comprises 8 percent of the total population.


It is assumed that Maurya has a sizable presence in more than 100 seats. It is no surprise therefore that this community, in order to enhance its bargaining power, has formed it own party called Mahan Dal and it is also no coincidence that Akhilesh Yadav formed an alliance with Mahan Dal before his election campaign began. 


Just like Swami Prasad Maurya, Dara Singh Chauhan, who also resigned as a minister in UP, belongs to an OBC caste. He is from the Nonia Caste which is considered the most backward among OBC and forms 3 percent of the population in eastern UP. This Community is spread around Varanasi, Chandauli, and Mirzapur. Though BJP has an alliance with the Prithviraj Jan Shakti party which focuses on the Nonias, Dara Singh is the biggest leader of this community and has the power to turn the whole vote bank in favor of SP. 


Caste Politics Are Taking A New Shape This Time Around

 


This time Akhilesh Yadav has been particularly consolidating the Non-Yadav OBC vote bank as well. Unlike the last State Assembly election, instead of forging an alliance with Congress. S.P has been stitching up a coalition with smaller Non-Yadav caste-based parties. 


On the other hand, BJP is playing aggressively on communal cards to counter the caste arithmetic. Subtly hinting at the demographic Composition, Yogi Adityanath said "Yeh ladai usse bahut aage ja chuki hai. Yeh ladai assi banam bees ki ho chuki hai” — This battle has already moved ahead. This battle has become 80 vs 20. He also termed the 20% as Anti-Hindu. Coincidentally, 80 percent and 20 percent roughly translate to the population of Hindu and Muslim communities in Uttar Pradesh. 

 

On the Contrary, Akhilesh Yadav seems to have taken a cue from prominent Bahujan leader Kanshiram's book by bringing all OBCs and SCs together in his poll strategy. This convergence accounts for a staggering 85% of the electorate in UP.  Thus he is making the electoral battle 85 vs 15 bipolar contest. 


Can BJP Recover From The Farmers’ Yearlong Stir in Western UP?

 


Western UP was a key front in BJP’s last victory in 2017 as BJP won 51 out of 70 seats in this region. Farmer's stir, MSP, law, and order are key issues in the Western Uttar Pradesh region where the Jat-Muslim equation, along with the demand for withdrawal of cases against farmers, will play a crucial role. 


The farmer's movement has given a lease of life to Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) in its political home turf of Western UP and its alliance with S.P would pose a tough challenge to the BJP. The death of RLD leader Ajit Singh due to Covid related complications in May will bring sympathy votes for his son Jayant Choudhary who now heads the party. 


Veteran Farmer leader Harpal Singh Bilari says the Muzaffarnagar riots of 2013 were a turning point in the politics of Western UP and the BJP won all 14 seats in the region 2014 General elections. Bilari claims the farmer's movement will prove to be another turning point for the BJP and angry farmers will vote it out of power. 


To put it in layman’s words(which is quite hard to do in Indian politics), the UP elections of 2022 are 

hard to predict for BJP as well as SP. Both parties seem adamant about gaining the upper hand during the largest state assembly election but all comes down to the same old buggy of caste politics where anyone can be a winner but the general public always ends up the loser. 


- रचित




Comments

latest

The first Presidential debate 2020

One year of Article 370

Criminalization of Politics in India