The UPShot | How ‘Ignorance’, Cadres’ Resentment & Dalit Votes Shattered BJP’s Dream, Helped SP Win in Ghosi – News18


Samajwadi Party workers celebrate the victory of party candidate Sudhakar Singh in the Ghosi constituency by-election, in Lucknow. (PTI)

Political analysts said BJP was informed of the undercurrent due to Dara Singh Chauhan’s image of a turncoat but it ignored the resentment and this eventually led to the party’s defeat

The UPShot

Samajwadi Party registered a big win in the recent Ghosi bypoll with its candidate Sudhakar Singh defeating BJP’s Dara Singh Chauhan by a margin of over 42,000 votes.

So why did the BJP, despite investing all its resources to win the prestige battle, lose the plot? If political analysts and sources within the party are to be believed, BJP’s ignorance and diversion of Dalit votes were the main reason behind the defeat.

The beginning

It all began in July 2023 when Suheldev Bhartiya Samaj Party (SBSP) chief Om Prakash Rajbhar, after breaking ties with Samajwadi Party, joined BJP-led NDA. SBSP had contested the 2022 UP assembly polls with SP and won six seats. Soon after, former UP MLA Dara Singh Chauhan —who was elected MLA from Ghosi on an SP ticket in 2022 — switched sides to join the BJP. The party then fielded Chauhan, an OBC leader, from Ghosi in the by-election.

Grand show of strength

Here’s where the grand show of strength began. BJP, for which Ghosi election was a prestige issue, invested all its resources to win the electoral battle on the seat that is known to be dominated by OBCs, SCs, STs, and Dalits.

Apart from a grand show of strength in Ghosi on the day of filing nomination, BJP pushed all its heavyweights to carry out rallies and ‘sabhas’ in favour of Chauhan. UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, deputy chief ministers Brajesh Pathak and Keshav Prasad Maurya and other party leaders campaigned hard for Chauhan.

However, all efforts went in vain as Chauhan lost to Sudhakar Singh by over 42,000 votes. Singh garnered 57.2 per cent votes polled against Chauhan’s 37.5 per cent votes.

BJP’s Ignorance?

Political analysts say BJP’s ignorance led to SP’s win. “Not only among masses but there was a lot of resentment within BJP against the party’s decision to field Chauhan from Ghosi. BJP was also informed of the undercurrent due to Chauhan’s image of a turncoat but it ignored the call and this eventually led to the party’s defeat,” a BJP insider said.

Wrong Candidate, Say Analysts

Shashikant Pandey, head of department of political science at Babasaheb Bhimrao Ambedkar University, said: “Chauhan’s turncoat image led to the party’s defeat. It’s the era of smart voters who may not change their loyalty as fast as Chauhan who entered politics with BSP in 1996, switched to SP in 2000, and returned to BSP in 2009. After winning from Ghosi in 2009, he joined BJP. Just before 2022 assembly elections, Chauhan left BJP and joined SP and in July, he once again resigned from the assembly and joined BJP.”

The Dalit Vote Bank

Political analysts also cited diversion of BSP votes as another major reason why BJP lost. “Ghosi is an OBC, SC, Dalit and ST-dominated seat where there are around 60,000 Dalit voters. However, since BSP took a back seat in the elections, there were only two major parties in the fray — BJP and SP. In such a situation, the 60,000 traditional BSP voters went with SP,” Pandey added.

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