BJP and 80 seats of U.P

With only few days left for the results, time is of the essence for political analysts and Media to predict the number of seats each party will score. If there is one state which is crucial for any party and all political analysts will be having their eyes on Is Uttar Pradesh (U.P) .

From the perspective of politics, U.P is known for Caste politics where a candidate’s prospects depends on his caste or religion and his party’s handling of caste equations. With its vast demographic dividend and size, it requires a strong organizational base and network to make inroads into this state. The parties SP, BSP, BJP, Congress, RLD have political significance here and are currently fighting in LS polls to have their impact in every seat possible.

During the time of Indira Gandhi, Congress had a strong hold on UP. A good balance of distribution of tickets was maintained which ensured representation of MPs from every community. Gradually during the 90’s Congress began to lose its ground to the emerging BJP and regional players due to the Ram mandir movement and Mandal politics . For BJP, UP served as launching pad to enter into the national fray and in time became a formidable challenger to the ruling congress . The religious polarization during the Ram mandir movement helped the BJP to gain a sizeable chunk of 50+ seats during 1996 General selections. But , later on gradually BJP started losing ground to regional parties due to infighting and emergence of multiple power centres. BJP’s performance in subsequent LS and state elections was poor and was reduced to mere 10 LS seats in 2009 elections.

Fast forward 2014, Political equations has much changed in 5 years. A double anti-incumbency factor is much evident this time. The first is of the UPA -2 which is marred with scams, inflation and unemployment. The second is of the SP rule in U.P where it is facing people’s ire because of deteriorating Law and order and appeasement politics. There is also considerable disenchantment towards AJit Singh’s RLD after Muzaffarnagar riots. The Jat voters which formed a considerable vote bank for RLD are now reportedly have gravitated towards BJP in western U.P. In addition to these factors , a few more factors have given BJP a second chance to make its way back as a serious contender . The following three factors may influence voters towards BJP :

One, the clever social engineering of “quota within quota “ which was introduced during Rajnath Singh’s tenure seems to be reaping benefits for BJP after 12 years. This system, to some extent has influenced voters from non-yadav OBCs and non-jatav dalits to opt for BJP as their best choice.

Two , Narendra Modi factor and his fine tuning of pitch for development , employment , good governance has gained prominence . The huge crowds he attracted during the rallies were itself a grand manifestation of the way in which the wind was blowing. In addition to national issues and excerpts from Gujarat model, he always touched upon local issues . His oratory skills and charisma were strong enough to have an emotional contact with the people he addressed. Even though Caste is a formidable barrier, Modi has tried to overcome this barrier by stressing on development politics.

Three, this is the factor which is going to be much discussed post poll if BJP delivers its best performance. It’s the Amit shah factor. Amit shah, known to be a confidante of Modi , rose through the ranks of BJP and is now handling it’s electoral campaign in U.P. He is known to be a master strategist, a skilled organizer and a person who has keen understanding of how to extract political power from public Institutions. Since he took charge of U.P from June 2013, he had been visiting every constituency, stressing on booth management and campaign strategy. He has played a vital role in scrutinizing candidate selection and has made sure tickets are given to winnable candidates.

If there is indeed a Modi wave in the country, Amit shah has ensured that the BJP’s turbine has been placed in a proper direction with a strong structure and has made it to function with clockwork precision to wield maximum power.

The above column presents an overview of an in-depth analysis of various articles and exit polls.

My predictions:

Party : Congress

Number of Seats predicted : 4-5

Congress threw a surprise by winning 21 seats in 2009. This year it will be restricted to a single digit performance and will give a tough fight in a few more seats.

Party : Samajwadi Party (SP)

Number of Seats predicted : 8-10

The short two years of rule of SP has already generated anti-incumbency because of its poor governance. With non-Yadav OBCs drifting towards BJP and section of Muslims opting BSP, SP will find it hard to better its performance.

Party : Bahujan Samajwadi Party (BSP)

Number of Seats predicted : 10-12

Mayawati’s BSP is giving a fight to BJP . Her hold on Dalit vote bank is still strong but recent exit polls are of the opinion that even a large section of Dalits have voted for BJP in the previous phases.

Party : Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)

Number of Seats predicted : 53-55

BJP is set for its best ever performance by winning highest number of seats. RSS has been highly active and is helping BJP in booth management. In the last phase , Modi’s candidature from Varanasi will influence the remaining 16 seats of Poorvanchal and a few seats in Bihar.

The present scenario highlights that the road to Delhi is leading from Kashi. Only time will decide the outcome.