If the BJP and Modi continue to spin their magic web as that in the recent Orissa and the Maharashtra Municipal corporation elections, which are being considered to be a referendum on demonetisation, anything can transpire.
As we stand half way through the U.P. elections we are treated to a triangular battle and the mercurial nature of voters. The initial trends, in which the BJP was not even in the race and was adjudged the no. 3 party, have overturned to a large extent. Whereas the BSP which was pretty much in the mix to begin with, is now panting due to the lack of “plus” votes apart from that of the Dalits. Even the Muslim votes have gone to Behen ji only at places where the BSP candidates have a stronghold.
Most amusingly the SP-Congress coalition which was predicted to cross the line with ease has some serious issues to tackle before it could redeem its past glory.
So when did the tables turn?
It seems that the internal brawl of the SP has cost it a bit too much. Dreading the loss of the “cycle symbol” in the Election Commission, Akhilesh Yadav caught hold of the “palm” to prevent himself from drowning. But much to his surprise, it is the weight of the palm which is causing him big-time trouble in the present elections. 105 seats were certainly a bit too much for the Congress.
The result is that now it is almost intangible to make out that who is saving whom in the present elections. The only purpose that the coalition has served is that of polarizing the Muslim votes, much to the anguish of the BJP.
Amit Shah enters
The social engineering of Amit Shah has started to pay off. The core vote of the BJP of the upper caste and traders is intact despite demonetization, which doesn’t seem to be that big an issue on the ground in the U.P. elections. No Modi wave as that of 2014 is evident, but certainly he remains the face of the party and the BJP is garnering votes in his name.
After 1991 and 2014, it is in this election that the BJP seems to be successful in attracting the non-Yadav OBC voters. Shah’s electoral gatherings and road shows are gathering unprecedented crowd which is a symbol of the BJP increasing its vote base. The recent results in the Orissa and the Maharashtra local body elections, which are highly skewed in BJP’s favour, may just act as fuel for their remaining campaign.
The people who are comparing the SP-Congress combination to the “Bihar Maha gatbandhan” should be mindful of the fact that both Nitish Kumar and Lalu Yadav are leaders with a strong vote base whereas the Rahul Gandhi led Congress is empty pocketed in Uttar Pradesh.
For the coalition to shine, it is mandatory for the Congress to increase its strike rate, otherwise at present, the picture looks grim for them.
The election campaign that began with development as the sole agenda has come to a standstill at Gujarat’s donkeys, graveyards and other similar rhetoric.
It is almost impossible to predict the whims of the state with a population of around 20 crore, but don’t be surprised if the BJP turns out to be the dark horse on the 11th of March.