UP, SP and the Polls: Will the Samajwadi Party-led alliance upset the BJP applecart?

BJP’s supremacy is under threat from the opposition parties this time, and among them, the SP stands tall

The Assembly elections to the Uttar Pradesh Assembly continues to stay on top of every one’s mind these days. With so much drama happening around, the poll season in UP has retained its position as a crowd-puller for the politically aware sections of the Indian society.

The reasons are many. And the most significant among them is the close contest that is unravelling this time around. Though the Bharatiya Janata Party had forced its way through the UP landscape like a juggernaut during the last Assembly elections, there seems to be a major change in the environment this time around.

BJP’s supremacy is under fire from the opposition parties this time, and among them, the Samajwadi Party stands tall. The Akhilesh Yadav-led Samajwadi Party has as its allies many outfits such as the Rashtriya Lok Dal, Suheldev Bharatiya Samaj Party, Mahan Dal, Pragatisheel Samaj Party (Lohia) and Janvadi Party (Socialist). These parties together have all ammunition in them to put up strong resistance to the BJP, and could even topple the saffron party.

Samajwadi Party looks formidable

Akhilesh Yadav has succeeded in positioning the Samajwadi Party and its allies as a formidable force this election season in Uttar Pradesh. The BJP had won the last elections after pocketing 325 seats in year 2017, which meant that its vote share stood at 41 percent. This percentage was a major win for the Bharatiya Janata Party then.

Akhilesh Yadav wants to rubbish the optimism that the BJP has brought into the election scenario this season. Though the Congress has been trying hard, the SP has managed to garner the support of a sizable population of the Muslim community in the state. This apart, the farmers’ protests have dealt a body blow to the BJP, and this has proved to be the Samajwadi Party’s gain as more Jat votes have been seen as coming the SP’s way.

Another factor that would prove to be an advantage for the Samajwadi Party and its allies is that the SP leader has been talking more on terms of economic development of the state this poll season. Unemployment among the youth of Uttar Pradesh, farmers’ issues, problems faced by the government staffers, and the dire straits the small scale industries are in, are all discussed widely by the SP leader wherever he goes. Besides, Akhilesh Yadav has also been trying to hold Dalits, non-Yadavs and Jats close to him and his party so that they need not look elsewhere.

Farmers’ protests, consolidation of Muslim votes

All these have given much space for the Samajwadi Party to make inroads into terrain it hasn’t gone into hitherto. And, that has made it a tough proposition for Yogi Adityanath, and the BJP. How successful will the Samajwadi Party be cannot be predicted as of now. But going by the looks of it, we need to believe that Samajwadi Party and its boss Akhilesh Yadav have turned out to be a major irritant for the BJP as the saffron party strives hard for a return to the Assembly.

Voting phases one and two had exhibited the strength of the Samajwadi Party and its allies as they stood together in such a crucial political situation. The situation was mainly governed by fall out of the farmers’ protest and consolidation of Muslim votes.

The March 10 results are being keenly awaited. Who knows this could be a watershed moment for the SP-led alliance in Uttar Pradesh!

Sanjeev Ramachandran

A journalist with 23 years of experience, Sanjeev has worked with reputed media houses such as Business Standard, The Ne More »
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