As polling for the second phase of Uttar Pradesh (termed as a very crucial round) and single phase of Goa and Uttarakhand assembly elections concluded on Monday, the question is whether BJP can defy the odds to stay at the helm of the three states. In UP the saffron party is in contest against Samajwadi party (SP)-Rastriya Lok Dal (RLD) alliance while in Uttarakhand and Goa, Congress is giving it a direct fight. Considering the varying nature of the three state elections, let us get a cursory idea of the underlying political scenario in each state on top of the common issues such as Corona mishandling and Unemployment.
As far as UP is concerned, the second phase of election held on the 55 assembly constituencies of Rohilkhand and parts of Western UP, having considerably large Muslim population is touted as the round that will determine the fate of the state. The community’s votes may turn out to be the decisive factors on around two dozen seats which include Rampur, Sambhal, Amroha, Bareilly, Meerganj, Najibabad, Bilari, Saharanpur City and Rural, Moradabad Urban and Rural. Unsurprisingly, this area has been a bastion for secular forces.
However, during the last assembly election (2017) BJP managed to perform better here, primarily due to split of Muslim votes. In that election Mayawati’s Bahujan Samaj Party bagged significant Muslim votes.
Yet, after cementing an alliance with RLD, SP is expecting to get the support of Jats to turn the table in its favor. Despite its average performance in the last election, SP has maintained the loyalty of its core constituency (Muslim-Yadav). It won six of its eight Lok Sabha seats in 2019, here.
According to many post poll analyses, the SP-RLD alliance was successful in carrying forward the momentum of the first phase.
The 70 assembly constituencies of Uttarakhand went to election on Monday to decide the fate of 632 candidates witnessed 61% voter turnout following a late hour surge in the polling.
The outgoing Pushkar Singh Dhami’s BJP government is facing a tooth and nail fight against Congress, though Aam Aadmi Party and Bahujan Samaj Party are also in the fray. The opposition Congress is fighting the election on the issue of unemployment, inflation and the frequent change of leadership during the outgoing government.
The BJP is seeking votes on development while attacking Congress for appeasement politics. The problem with The Saffron party is that it has been grappling with infighting since it came to power in 2017. This has forced the party to remove two chief ministers in quick succession. In 2021 the then chief minister Trivendra Singh Rawat was replaced by Tirath Singh Rawat who soon got replaced by Pushkar Singh Dhami.
It appears that as BJP found itself in the bind, it resorted to announce that it will implement Uniform Civil Code if it returns to power in the state. Will this last minute Hindutva card be enough to keep its prospect alive in Uttarakhand remains to be seen?
The assembly election of Goa’s become interesting as Trinamol Congress, Aam Aadmi Party, NCP-Shiv Sena along with main rivals, Congress and Bhartiya Janata Party have made it a multi-cornered fight.
Congress, marred with chronic defections for the last few years is hoping for revival with a new breed of leaders after 15 of 17 MLAs who won on its ticket in 2017, defected to the BJP.
Yet the grand old party appears to have found a silver lining as it gets the opportunity to accommodate its grassroots workers and fresh faces. On its part, the party has made the candidates pledge in Temple, Church and Dargah against defection, to give a message to the electorate that defection will not happen again.
On the other hand, BJP led by outgoing chief minster Dr. Pramod Sawant is eying to return to power for the third time. Despite winning only 13 seats in 2017, it had managed to stay in the government. After the demise of party stalwart Manohar Parrikar who led the party in 2012 and 2017 elections, the BJP is facing stiff challenges. The Party rank and file is agitated as half of BJP candidates are Congress defectors. Ground Reports suggest that the defection phenomenon has not gone down well with the electorate.
A few analysts are of the view that BJP may have the upper hand since smaller parties may cut Congress votes. However, others say that the TMC and NCP have in the past also tested the water here with little impact, adding that since 2012 much less division of votes is recorded in the state.
Goa recorded a very high turnout of voters on Monday (78.94%), giving hope to the Congress that the people have come out to vote for a change. Thus it will be very difficult to predict the outcome. Yet, the indication is clear that BJP is in trouble in Goa.
In such a situation BJP’s hope lies on a large scale division of votes among opposition and smaller parties to stay in the race of all three states. However, if the votes do not get dispersed to that level, saving a single state among Uttarakhand, UP and Goa will be an uphill task for the BJP.
(Shams Khan is contributing editor at TheNewsWeb. The views are personal)