Uttar Pradesh election: Double-engine driven BJP in fray against geared-up opposition | Lucknow News – Times of India


The stage is set for 2022 UP assembly elections. While the BJP believes that its ‘Double Engine’ with support of some smaller parties like Apna Dal will bulldoze the opposition again, SP hopes to withstand the saffron charge by knitting an alliance with local OBC satraps including Rashtriya Lok Dal and SBSP among others. BSP’s attempt is to make the contest three-cornered by experimenting with its Dalit-Brahmin combination again, while Congress is desperately trying to stay afloat by carving a new ‘women vote bank’.
Here’s what victory or defeat in the polls would mean for various parties and their leaders.
Bharatiya Janata Party
To retain power, BJP will have to repeat the dominance with which it devastated the opposition in 2014 and 2019 Lok Sabha and 2017 assembly elections. It’s a challenging task in view of the farmers’ movement and spiralling inflation. The party has put its best foot forward by playing the development and nationalism card along with polarisation. A divided opposition will also be an advantage. The victory would make Yogi Adityanath the first chief minister after Sampoornanand to get a consecutive second term and put him on the path of becoming Narendra Modi’s successor in national politics. A defeat in the elections, however, may force the party to rethink its 2024 strategy because the reputation of double engine – Modi and Yogi Ki Sarkar — is at stake.
S: Strong leadership and cadre
W: Anti-incumbency
O: Solidifying Hindutva
T: Internal party bickering
Score in previous elections
* Vidhan Sabha
2012: won 47, votes 15%
2017: won 312, votes 39.67%
* Lok Sabha
2014 won 71, votes 42.63%
2019: won 62, votes 49.98%
Though the grand old party has nothing to lose as it is starting from scratch, the outcome of the elections will decide whether it retains any foothold in the state which once was its driving engine in state politics. The party is fighting to get some space from where it can build on for the next Lok Sabha elections. If Congress manages to get some seats, particularly because of Priyanka Gandhi Vadra’s pitch for girl power, it could become a turning point in Indian politics or at least carve a niche in terms of gender politics where women will aggressively demand their share in power. However, if Priyanka fails to score, a second consecutive failure after the Lok Sabha election, it will be much more than an embarrassment for the party and Gandhi family in particular.
S: Priyanka’s pitch for girl power
W: Credibility deficit
O: Create a base from scratch
T: Weak cadre
Scores in previous elections
Vidhan Sabha
2012: won 28, votes 11.7%
2017: won 7 with votes 6.25%
Lok Sabha
2014: won 2, votes 7.5%
2019: won 1, votes 6.36%
Samajwadi Party
Despite being in power in UP, SP won only five seats due to the Modi wave in 2014 Lok Sabha polls. Akhilesh Yadav realised he cannot withstand the Hindutva juggernaut alone, particularly in the wake of family feud and anti-incumbency. Hence, in 2017 assembly elections he allied with the Congress. The experiment failed badly. He tried another experiment in 2019 Lok Sabha polls by allying with BSP and RLD, but that too failed. This time, the SP chief has cobbled up an alliance with small OBC groups — almost a replica of Amit Shah’s 2014 and 2017 poll strategy in UP. Counting anti-incumbency on his side, he has poised himself as the main challenger to BJP. The gambit, if successful, will bring Akhilesh to power again. A failure, however, may relegate the party to UP’s Yadav belt.
S: Better placed to challenged BJP
W: Lack of second and third rung leaders
O: Emerge as national leader akin to Mamata Banerjee
T: Overconfidence
Score in previous elections
Vidhan Sabha
2012: won 226, votes 29.3%
2017: won 47, votes 21.82%
Lok Sabha
2014: won 5, votes 22.2%
2019: won 5, votes 18.11%
Bahujan Samaj Party
For the BSP, it’s the question of survival. Four back to back defeats — 2012 and 2017 assembly elections and 2014 and 2019 Lok Sabha polls — has forced the party to the fringe. In fact, in 2019, Mayawati shook hands with rival SP to salvage the situation and managed to increase its tally from nil in 2014 to 10 seats in 2019, but this time she is standing all alone. Adding to the problem is that almost all Bahujan lieutenants from the Kanshiram era have deserted the party to join SP or BJP, leaving Maya with a Brahmin face SC Mishra. A victory or substantial increase in the number of seats in elections would not only make the party stand up again, but also keep alive Kanshiram’s political experiment in which he wanted to bring all marginalised classes under one umbrella.
S: Undisputed leadership
W: Lack of resources
O: Revival of the party
T: Erosion of cadre
Score in previous elections
Vidhan Sabha
2012: won 80, votes 25.91%
2017: won 19, votes 22.23%
Lok Sabha
2014: won nil, votes 19.6%
2019: won 10, votes 19.43%

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