Uttar Pradesh Assembly Elections: Not just west, ruling BJP is feeling the heat in east UP too

Rashmi SharmaUpdated: Friday, February 04, 2022, 06:23 PM IST
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Gorakhpur: Union Home Minister Amit Shah with Union Education Minister Dharmendra Pradhan, UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and UP BJP President Swatantra Dev Singh, during a public meeting ahead of the UP Assembly elections, in Gorakhpur. | (PTI Photo)

Lucknow: Contrary to the perception of ruling Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP) facing tough battle in west UP, the party is not finding it easy in the eastern part too.

With prominent backward leaders like Swami Prasad Maurya, Dara Singh Chauhan leaving the party and Samajwadi Party forging alliance with small caste-based parties, BJP is facing stiff resistance in the eastern UP this time. Of all the leaders who have left BJP in the recent past a maximum belonged to eastern UP. The mass exodus of backward faces has forced the party to repeat almost all of its sitting legislators as candidates in the elections. Besides, it has left a large number of seats for allies like Nishad Party and Apna Dal in east UP.

In the 2017 assembly election, BJP had won on 86 of the 115 assembly seats in the eastern UP while 11 seats were bagged by its allies Apna Dal and Suheldeo Rajbhar Bhartiya Samaj Party (SBSP). While Apna Dal is still in alliance with BJP, the SBSP has tied up with SP this time. To compensate the loss caused by SBSP, the BJP has joined hands with Nishad Party in this election. SBSP represents the Rajbhar community, which has presence in few of east UP districts including Ghazipur, Varanasi, Mau and Jaunpur. Nishad Party has a strong base among fishermen community with presence in Gorakhpur, Mahrajganj, Basti, Siddharthnagar, Deoria, Bhadohi, Mirzapur and Sant Kabirnagar districts of east UP. Though unwillingly BJP has given more than a dozen seats in these districts to its ally Nishad Party to contest. It has also given seven seats in east UP to another ally Apna Dal.

According to political analysts, east UP has a majority of voters from the other backward castes and many of them are closely associated with smaller parties like SBSP, Apna Dal, Nishad Party, Janwadi Party, Mahan Dal and others. Most of these parties have forged alliance with SP this time and posing threat for BJP, which is left with just aides. About the challenges before BJP in east UP, senior journalist Ashish Awasthi said that the Brahmin-Kshatriya divide is strong in east UP. With CM Yogi, being himself a Kshatriya the opposition has been accusing him of working for his own community only and this perception has annoyed Brahmins in east UP. Besides the desertion of backward leaders has also become a major cause of worry for BJP in east UP.

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