Apart from Hindutva, improving the law and order situation could be a major part of the poll for the BJP in the west of the UP.
New Delhi: The BJP plans to play the “Hindutva card” in the UP Assembly elections to counter Akhilesh Yadav’s caste card.
The BJP’s main challenger, the Samajwadi Party (SP), is betting on caste and minority politics in the upcoming UP elections. Apart from this, “improving the law and order situation” of the state under the Yogi government will also be the major polling board of the BJP.
With caste politics dominating Uttar Pradesh’s election battle, problems such as farmers’ problems, unemployment and rising prices have disappeared. The Samajwadi party is eyeing the backward classes and the Muslim vote bank. With this in mind, the BJP sent Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath of Gorakhpur city for the elections to give impetus to Hindutva politics.
Other opposition parties also rely on caste arithmetic in the largest state in the Hindi belt. The BJP is at the same time confident of retaining power in the state based on its already established law and order and Hindutva agenda. Now it is clear that UP will be the second major state after Bihar where the stage is set for an electoral battle between caste politics and Hindutva. The BJP was largely successful in weakening the regional parties in both states with the help of “Hindutva” as its program. The saffron party came to power with its ally JD(U) in Bihar where it used this agenda. BJP leaders now claim that the saffron party will be able to form the UP government on the agenda of Hindutva and development. The fact that Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath was nominated as the BJP candidate from Gorakhpur is proof of this.
At the same time, the SP is trying to unite the backward classes and Muslims in its favor. Most of the leaders who leave the BJP to join the SP belong to backward classes or other backward classes. These leaders accused the BJP of ignoring the backward classes through what is seen as political coercion.
The real fight is definitely between BJP and SP in UP, with BSP and Congress unable to make their presence felt. The BSP can reduce the votes of other parties. Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra is busy with political experiments as senior citizens are sidelined. She is banking on women voters in the state. As part of this strategy, Priyanka gave 50 places to women from the first list of 125 candidates. She also hopes for the support of young people. But no one seems to take Congress seriously. The party seems to have ignored its problems of rising prices, unemployment, etc. Priyanka’s decision to appease women is questioned on the grounds that even 10% of women did not get organizational positions in Congress.
PS strategists believe that if Muslims (20%), Yadavs (10%) and half of OBC and Dalit voters (25%) vote for Akhilesh, then the party will pass. Also, if a quarter of the advanced classes that are at 20% go with SP, the BJP will be in crisis. SP thinks that Congress will reduce the votes of the upper castes, which will also benefit him. Akhilesh’s party also believes that Muslims will not waste their vote supporting others. The party will also benefit in the west from the UP due to its alliance with the party of Jayant Chaudhary. If the results are in line with SP’s analysis, the BJP will face a massive election defeat.
In fact, SP’s calculations are similar to Congress’s in 2019 Lok Sabha polls. Congress then calculated that BJP would not be able to repeat the 2014 performance in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Haryana, Chhattisgarh, Delhi, Bihar, Jharkhand, Punjab, Uttarakhand, Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal and Maharashtra. But nothing like that happened. The BJP won more seats in 2019 than in 2014. Now the UP seems to be heading towards the same situation, with the BJP using Hindutva as a great electoral weapon.
Improving law and order in the state will be another big polling program for the BJP. The ruling party is already trying to cash in on Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s image. Prime Minister Modi is supposed to be a big opponent of backward class politics since he himself belongs to the OBC. The BJP estimates that half of OBC’s total 42% will be with the ruling party, apart from the 20% upper caste votes it is sure to get. The Safran party believes that the Brahmin community will not vote for any party other than the BJP. Similarly, the BJP is confident of getting a large chunk of Dalit votes. Then, Owaisi’s AIMIM party will also cut Muslim votes in favor of the BJP.
The BJP has its plan ready to try to polarize voters along communal lines through the Hindutva agenda in the UP east. Mandir, repeal of Article 370 in Kashmir, etc. are the issues that the BJP must push for this purpose.