Most populous state of India, Uttar Pradesh, is witnessing a change, which has the capacity to change the political scenario of the country. Bahujan Samaj Party of Mayawati and Samajwadi Party of Akhilesh Yadav have joined hands to fight bypolls of the two Lok Sabha constituencies, which have fallen vacant because of the resignation of Chief Minister Adityanath Yogi and Deputy Chief Minister Keshava Prasad Maurya. They are Gorakhpur and Phulpur Lok Sabha constituencies. Gorakhpur was being represented by Yogi Adityanath for the last five terms and before him, his Guru Mahanth Adwaitnath was representing this constituency since 1989. It means Gorakhpur is the fiefdom of Yogi for the last three decades. Hence, this is very important constituency for BJP and its prestige is at stake in the bypoll, which will witness voting on 11th of March.
Similarly Phulpur is also a prestigious constituency. It was used to be represented by the first Prime Minister of India, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru and during 2014 election Keshava Prasad Maurya, the current Deputy CM had wrested this seat by defeating both SP and BSP. Since, BJP has done exceedingly well in the last Assembly Elections as well, there seemed to be no challenge for BJP to retain both these seats. SP and Congress have fielded their candidates in the bypolls, while BSP has not fielded any candidate, since its policy is not to contest bypoll. BJP was assuming these bypolls as cakewalk, but the decision of BSP to support the candidates of Samajwadi Party has made the task to win these seats difficult for BJP, because the supporters are Mayawati are known to follow their leader blindly and they harbor anti BJP feelings. Hence, it is expected that they will vote to SP candidates in full strength and BJP has to face stiff challenge to retain these two seats.
Despite the combined onslaught of SP and BSP, BJP may still scrap through the bypolls, because BJP is still very strong in these two constituencies and police encounters against criminals is being appreciated by people of the state, which has been the paradise of criminals for the last two decades. Again, BJP has advantage of being in power and it has got vast resources to fight election, but coming together of these two parties is bad omen for the ruling party, which was dreaming to replicate its performance of 2014 Lok Sabha and 2017 Assembly elections in the next Lok Sabha election slated for 2019. In the last Assembly election the combined votes of SP and BSP were higher than that of BJP. SP was contesting in alliance with Congress and if we add the votes of BSP in the combined votes of SP and Congress, it adds to 50 percent of the total votes cast in UP Assembly election.
It is noteworthy to mention that the combined strength of Lalu and Nitish had crushed BJP in the last Assembly Election of Bihar. The combined strength of SP and BSP is equally potent in Uttar Pradesh. SP has solid support in dominant Yadav caste voters, while Mayawati commands total support of a caste group, who form the single largest caste numerically in Uttar Pradesh. Muslims are divided between SP and BSP. If these two party join hands in next Lok Sabha election too, a combination of Dalit, Muslim and Yadavas will emerge and BJP will find it difficult to defeat these combination. Congress may also join this combination and the three parties may forge a grand alliance.
It is true that the formation of Grand Alliance as Bihar pattern is not easy in Uttar Pradesh, because Mayawati is a very hard bargainer. Even Mulayam may pose some hurdles in the way of Grand Alliance, because he would not like his party to join hands with Mayawati, who had ditched him in 1995 and had formed government with the help of BJP. BJP, too, would try to create rifts between these two parties and may use the corruption cases pending against SP and BSP leaders to mar the chance of their so called alliance. Anyway, the honeymoon of SP and BSP is a new development and It will be interesting to watch its progress.
– Contributed by Kriti
Picture Credits: zeenews.india.com