Uttar Pradesh Elections: What next for the BJP in Uttar Pradesh?

A string of resignations of ministers, legislators and other senior leaders from the BJP in Uttar Pradesh has caused unexpected political turmoil in the run-up to the assembly elections. This is in contrast to the enthusiasm for the party in 2017 when veterans of other parties lined up to join it. At the time, the party’s only attraction was to be a part of Narendra Modi’s band and the “new” social coalition formed by then-party chief Amit Shah, who had been working on this “project” since 2013 after Modi handed him state charge.

From 2014 onwards, after decades of effort, the BJP secured the support of other backward castes (OBCs) and non-dominant sub-castes among Dalits, seemingly on a consistent basis, on a massive platform where development and social welfare were at the fore. issues, while Hindutva provided the background. Do recent desertions mean that the systematically forged alliance now risks eroding?

Modi and Shah remain the two most powerful entities in the party and government at the national level. But, statewide, the narrative has since 2017 been taken into account by the rise of Chief Minister ‘anointed’ Adityanath as the leader of his own prestige, someone who has shamelessly publicized his image through advertisements, plaques and affirmations. The UP is also starkly different from the other BJP-ruled states. Adityanath is relatively more “independent” than other CMs. Although no general difference emerged between the central leadership and the state leadership – the “dual-engine” model, in fact, being a USP during this survey – Adityanath was not the “original” choice for the BJP’s central leadership. far.

Those who left the party throughout the week are more vocal in their criticism of Adityanath and his style of work. Their anger is not directed at the central leadership because the prime minister is the hands-on person in shaping state policies and governance. Thus, should these migrations adversely affect the performance of the party, a greater responsibility (read: blame) will fall on Adityanath. While this could make the political equations within the party more linear in the run-up to 2024, it could change the course of the party by stimulating opposition and calming moods among party cadres.

However, these resignations cannot be caused by Adityanath’s over-centralizing style of government. The former BJP leaders, who suddenly realized that the Yogi government was ‘ignoring’ the OBCs and Dalits, have lived with his policies, style of work and the resulting Rajput bliss that socially isolates others, even the upper classes. The departure of these leaders indicates their belief that their future will be more secure by breaking away from the BJP, and possibly by turning to the Samajwadi Party (SP), which appears to have emerged as the main contender. It also indicates their assessment that a strong anti-incumbent sentiment now prevails in UP.

If their decision is confirmed, in fact, on March 10 when the results come out, it would indicate that voters were guided by the public memory of the state government’s impotence during the second wave and less by its announcement before the snap election. With the third wave now raging, these memories could come back more vividly. In addition, the BJP faces the wrath of farmers, especially in western UP, where it faces a formidable political alliance.

Regardless of the final poll result, the BJP’s central leadership has reasons to be concerned about immigration. This is, after all, the first round of council elections after a brutal second wave, a phase during which the center may also be seen as having its share of failures. If discontent with the state government’s handling of the pandemic lies at the root of cracks in the BJP’s social coalition, it will take either a Herculean effort or an overnight transformation – like post Pulwama – to allow the BJP to breathe easy on the way to 2024.

It would be hasty to write off the BJP’s odds and assume the SP does indeed have a toe inside the door. All party leaders are increasingly resorting to the use of religious symbols and appeals, with some attempting to polarize voters along religious lines. BJP leaders have forged Hindu consolidation across caste lines in the past. The party has previously played a successful role in the Modi government’s welfare initiatives that created audiences of “labhartis” (beneficiaries). She does it again. Moreover, Akhilesh Yadav has yet to offer an alternative vision for the state and appears to be relying solely on a properly rainbow caste coalition, along the lines that lined up against the BJP in Bihar in 2015, along with any anti-incumbent sentiment. .

But if the BJP convincingly wins at the end of this turmoil, while the political terrain tilts in its favour, ironically its internal equations may become more competitive.

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Andrew Naughtie

News reporter and author at @websalespromo