Uttar Pradesh which is considered as the kingmaker state in terms of formation of a government at the centre after every Lok Sabha election might repeat its feat when the results come out on May 23 indicating the nature of the formation of the 17th Lok Sabha. In 2014, BJP set a record in getting 71 seats on its own out of the total of 80 seats in UP and that along with another two seats won by its ally Apna Dal, facilitated in a big way the formation of the BJP led NDA government at the centre.
Despite continuing rise in the influence of BJP in the Hindi heartland during the second tenure of the UPA, especially in the last two years of Dr Manmohan Singh’s rule, the victory of the saffrons in 73 seats along with its ally Apna Dal in 2014 Lok Sabha elections, was something unprecedented and just Modi wave could not explain this.
It was apparent that some convulsions took place in the polity of Uttar Pradesh in 2013 and 2014 before the eve of the Lok Sabha poll which completely transformed the old caste combinations and favoured the social engineering which the Modi-Shah duo experimented in UP during the 2014 poll.
In 2019, the ground reality is completely changed and if the feedback from some of the reliable exit poll raw figures for the six phases of polling in Uttar Pradesh is any indication, BJP is facing a Tsunami in the face of the alliance of Samajwadi Party and the Bahujan Samaj Party which have acted in complete collaboration despite all the insinuations from the BJP leaders and misgivings by the friends of the secular forces including the Congress.
The reports from the ground level suggest that there has been a near 100 per cent transfer of votes from the BSP to SP and vice versa and even where the Congress was the strongest fighting both the alliance candidate and the BJP, there was a last-minute understanding in some seats for averting the division of anti-BJP votes.
Further, the analysts have noted that the Congress in some seats, have helped the SP-BSP candidates by dividing the Brahmin votes which would have gone to BJP. In effect, the Congress in some seats might have cut some votes of SP-BSP alliance, but in many more seats, the GoP has helped the alliance by cutting BJP vote banks.
A group of experts under the banner of Anthro.ai have analysed in details the polling behaviour of the last six phases in Uttar Pradesh from all aspects and have observed that the BJP is facing an earthquake in UP and all its calculations have gone haywire.
This analysis shows that the polling trends in favour of the SP-BSP alliance are so aggressive that it will be surprising if the BJP’s tally in Uttar Pradesh comes to the range of 15 to 25 seats as against 40 to 55 tally of SP-BSP-RLD combine. In fact, the Athro experts are more positive about the alliance getting around 55 and the Congress getting five plus seats.
This means that the BJP will range around 20 seats which do not seem unlikely since its social alliance has been shaken and the BJP chief minister Yogi Adityanath has become uniformly unpopular covering all religions and castes. Apart from the impact of Gathbandhan, the maladministration of the BJP CM has also contributed to the embarrassment of the BJP candidates during the Lok Sabha poll in UP.
The very nature of UP’s caste combination and minorities concentration make it evident that it is not possible for the BJP to have completed domination in electoral support under normal circumstances, In both 2004 and 2009 Lok Sabha elections, the BJP secured seats compared to its strength in that particular period.
But in the run-up to 2014 Lok Sabha elections, the BJP took full advantage of the non-functioning of the UPA government in the second term‘s fag end, The BJP leadership capitalised by wooing non-Yadav OBCs and non-Yadav Dalits. There was disenchantment with both the Congress at the centre and the SP in the state as it was in the government after 2012 state assembly elections.
The people who felt left out and disenchanted with the Congress and the SP came to the BJP fold. Narendra Modi was looking attractive as the new leader and this gave a good opportunity to the BJP leaders to build a perfect consolidation of a social alliance consisting of both Yadavs, Yatavs, Dalits and upper castes. That consolidation got totally dismantled in the last two years of Yogi Adityanath’s rule in the state.
In 2004 Lok Sabha elections, the BJP got 10 seats from Uttar Pradesh as against 35 by SP,19 by BSP and 9 by the Congress. This time, the situation might be better for BJP compared to 2004, but for all practical purposes, the BJP’s supremacy in Uttar Pradesh in the political domain is in for a big challenge and this will have its impact on the future of the Adityanath government, though the next assembly elections are still three years away.
Nitya Chakraborty is a freelance journalist. Views are personal.