Skip to main content

Why UP panchayat results aren't a guarantee Samajwadi Party will win Assembly polls

By Divesh Ranjan, Brijesh Kumar Rai, Sandeep Pandey* 

Recent Uttar Pradesh Panchayat election results indicate that Samajwadi Party supported candidates have won more number of seats than Bhartiya Janata Party supported candidates in the election of District Panchayat Members. Interestingly, BJP supported candidates have been defeated in bastions key to Hindutva politics like Ayodhya, Varanasi and Mathura. This implies that building a Ram temple is no longer going to fetch votes.
However, a large number of elected candidates, numbering more than 900, are independent whose alignment is as yet unclear. So, based on this Panchayat elections’ mandate we cannot accurately predict as to who is going to be the likely winner in the upcoming Assembly elections. 
However, despite a not so high profile campaign by SP in UP Panchayat elections, it has scored a big victory and that signals a change in people’s mood. Aam Aadmi Party has also registered its presence with significant number of seats in UP’s three tier Panchayat system.

Can BJP/National Democratic Alliance win 2022 assembly election in UP?

BJP is the second largest winning party in the recent Panchayat elections. Now it is trying its best to woo the independents so that it can win the Chair positions of most Zila Panchayats and Block Panchayats, a game in which BJP can outsmart any party because of its state and money power. It will certainly face a very tough competition in Assembly elections but still there is a good chance that it can win. 
The anti-incumbency factor and the government failure to manage Covid situation may severely impact its winnability chances. However, it is observed time and again that Indian voters have short lived memory. In Bihar elections last year the Bihar state government’s apathy towards returning migrant workers did not seem to have impacted the election results adversly.
Apart from pandemic crisis, there are other factors which create voters’ perception. BJP has the strongest vote bank in UP among all states. BJP is very adept, with the help of IT cell and media, at polarizing voters on communalism and nationalism just before the elections to divert attention of public from misgovernance. Finally, they had successfully crafted a TINA factor, “if not Modi then who?” which clearly failed to yield results in West Bengal elections in spite of a high decibel campaign.

Can BJP get defeated?

If it is defeated the biggest reason will be pathetic management of Covid pandemic crisis which has exposed the government’s failures and tainted the image of ruling party badly. It has shaken the faith of a large section of people in government. Unprecedented unemployment, increasing income disparity, poor law and order situation are other reasons for people’s dissent. 
Before this crisis the government also witnessed people’s anguish on Citizenship Amendment Act and National Register of Citizens and Farm laws. The ongoing farmers’ agitation is certain to dent BJP’s show in western UP.
In terms of caste equation, Brahmin, Vaishya and other forward castes are traditional supporters of BJP. In case of western UP, in the last Assembly elections, Jat community had mostly voted for BJP but this time they are likely to vote for Rashtriya Lok Dal largely due to farmers’ agitation. 
Vaishya community has also suffered immensely due to lockdown and various BJP government experiments like demonetisation and Goods and Services Tax. This resentment is likely to be reflected in election results. An alliance among opposition parties could play a key role in defeat of BJP just like in Tamil Nadu.

Can SP, without alliance, win the election?

SP is aspiring to win the election without any alliance. In last Assembly elections of the state, it fought in alliance with Indian National Congress. SP lost 170 seats on 2nd position whereas INC lost 49 seats on 2nd rank. Bahujan Samaj Party became the largest obstacle for the alliance. 
BSP received 22.2 % votes, SP got 21.8% votes, INC got 6.2 % votes approximately while the NDA received 39.7% mandate in total 403 constituencies. This data indicates that for SP fighting alone will reduce its votes drastically and it may just fall short of success like in Bihar and Assam.
On the basis of panchayat election results it may not be appropriate to predict a victory for SP in the Assembly elections, because it was not fought on party symbol. People exhibit different voting behavior in Parliament, Assembly and Panchayat elections. In Panchayat elections it is more based on individual persona and connection rather than the Party behind the candidate.
Therefore, SP must not be misled and should think in terms of bringing opposition parties together. However, because of its unpleasant experience with BSP and INC in past it remains to be seen whether Akhilesh Yadav is willing build bridges with these two parties. 
The only party that SP is sure of allying with is RLD which will be to the benefit of both parties. The other party that SP should consider bringing in its alliance fold is Suheldev Bhartiya Samaj Party led by Om Prakash Rajbhar which won four seats in last Assembly elections as a partner of NDA but is now estranged from that alliance.
Although Akhilesh Yadav has formed a Baba Saheb Vahini within his Party on the last Ambedkar Jayanti, but he would do well to explore an alliance with Azad Samaj Party of the upcoming Dalit leader Chandrashekhar Azad. SP should learn from the distribution of seats by Secular Progressive Alliance in Tamil Nadu which resulted in a huge victory of the alliance.

The role of BSP-AIMIM in the election

If BSP and All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen come together in UP, then beneficiary will be BJP like in Bihar and Assam Assembly elections where secular vote was split. This alliance will damage SP alliance. The possibility of alliance between BSP and SP seems to be negligible.

The role of Indian National Congress in the election

INC must be realistic at this time. It must accept that it has lost its voter base. INC became the reason for failure of Mahagathbandhan alliance in Bihar Assembly elections by contesting a large number of seats. It won only 19 seats out of 70 seats, that is victory over 27% of contested seats, whereas alliance partners like Rashtriya Janata Dal and Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) won on more than 60% of contested seats.
It also lost the election in Assam due to not bringing a popular face and because of failure to form alliance with newly founded parties which were the voice of Assam during the anti CAA protests. In Bihar and Assam, where its ambition got the better of it, Congress lost badly. While in recent Tamil Nadu Assembly elections Congress made reasonable adjustments with its alliance partners resulting in grand victory of Secular Progressive Alliance.


Lessons to be learnt in Alliance Politics

Looking at Table 2 if SP, BSP and INC were to contest together and were able to win all seats where each of them lost by under 15% vote margin, then today this alliance would have been in power with comfortable majority. Moreover, if SP and INC were to be able to win all seats where each of them lost by under 20% vote margin, then they could form government even without BSP’s support.
The mandate in the last UP Assembly election, last Lok Sabha elections, and recent UP Panchayat elections clearly shows that Congress has lost its large voter base. In the coming elections if it fights alone then it may barely win a few seats but may harm winnability of SP. If INC compromises on its ambition and forms alliance with SP and contests only on selected seats then the alliance can emerge victorious. Support to regional parties by INC may pay off in Lok Sabha elections.
In nutshell, if SP enters into an alliance with RLD, INC, SBSP, ASP and possibly AAP to control the division of secular votes that will be caused by the BSP-AIMIM alliance, then SP led opposition alliance is likely to win.
---
*Divesh Ranjan is a political analyst, Brijesh Kumar Rai is a former faculty member of IIT Guwahati, Sandeep Pandey is vice president of Socialist Party (India) and Magsaysay award winning social activist

Comments

TRENDING

North Gujarat gram panchayat bars villagers from dealing with Muslim hawkers, traders

By Our Representative  A gram panchayat in North Gujarat has barred its residents not to buy anything from Muslim traders and hawkers. An order of the Waghasan group gram panchayat of Tharad taluka of Banaskantha district dated June 30 states that the decision has been taken in the wake of beheading of a Hindu tailor after he posted a derogatory writeup on Prophet Mohammad in Udaipur. The gram panchayat resolution says, anyone seen buying or selling any commodity from a Muslim hawker or trader would be fined Rs 5,100. Bringing this to light, Mujahid Nafees, convener, Minority Coordination Committee, in a letter to Gujarat chief minister Bhupendra Patel, says, the state government should take legal action against the panchayat chief who has signed the “unjust” order. The letter says, the act of the sarpanch and other signatories is a violation of rule of law of the state and threat to peace, pointing out, the move is in violation of Article 15 of the Constitution, which says that none

Unlike Soviet Union, Russia is no friend to India: Ukrainian scholar tells 'Indian friends'

Counterview Desk In an open letter to "dear Indian friends", Anastasia Piliavsky, born in Odessa, Ukraine, studied at Boston and Oxford Universities (on a Rhodes Scholarship), and now teaches at King’s College, London, has said that she faces "deep moral dilemma", personally and professionally, over the "astonishingly unified Indian response to the war in Ukraine." Based on her interaction with a "number of thoughtful and caring Indian friends", in this letter, she says, she is "reeling at the ubiquitous silence at, justifications of or outright support for Putin’s terror, which now prevails in India, at the ubiquitous #IStandWithPutin and #istandwithrussia hashtags." She insists, India must understand, "Unlike the Soviet Union, Russia is no friend to India. Soviet leaders, beginning with (the Ukrainian) Nikita Khrushchev – who declared hindi rusi bhai bhai – built up deep political and cultural exchange with India." Text : I

Technocratic globalism, tyranny? Health Ministry warned: bill to 'enslave' Indians

Sandeep Pandey, Tushar Gandhi By Rosamma Thomas*  Union of Concerned Citizens, a group comprising Magsaysay Award winner Prof Sandeep Pandey, human rights activist Tushar Gandhi, former judge of the Bombay High Court BG Kolse Patil, pediatrician Dr Jacob Puliyel and several renowned Indian citizens have written to the Union Health Minister cautioning him against tabling the draft Public Health Bill in the Monsoon Session of Parliament. “The Public Health (Prevention, Control And Management Of Epidemics, Bio-Terrorism And Disasters) Bill, 2017 and a Prospective Bill of 2022 as discussed in news articles, is straightforwardly violative of Fundamental Rights of the citizens of India and therefore, Ultra Vires of the Indian Constitution. It contravenes several International Treaties and Conventions including the Nuremberg Treaty of 1947 which was enacted to ensure that no country would repeat such inhuman medical atrocities on fellow human beings”, the 12-page letter reads. “Strangely, t

Buddhist shrines were 'massively destroyed' by Brahmanical rulers: Historian DN Jha

Nalanda mahavihara By Our Representative Prominent historian DN Jha, an expert in India's ancient and medieval past, in his new book , "Against the Grain: Notes on Identity, Intolerance and History", in a sharp critique of "Hindutva ideologues", who look at the ancient period of Indian history as "a golden age marked by social harmony, devoid of any religious violence", has said, "Demolition and desecration of rival religious establishments, and the appropriation of their idols, was not uncommon in India before the advent of Islam".

Chennai residents 'suffering': Faulty design, implementation of storm water project

By NS Venkataraman*  The Greater Chennai Corporation is now implementing storm water drainage project in 559 roads, covering a distance of 1033 kilometres, which cost around Rs 4,070 crore. For this massive project, which is targeted to be completed between April and September this year, huge loan has been availed from World Bank, Asian Development Bank and others. Several technocrats have pointed out that the project has been designed with outdated technology and quality of the implementation is so poor that the residents have been put to great hardships. As part of the project, digging of the road has been done to around 5 to 6 feet deep and width of around 4 to 5 feet. The drains are being constructed using steel reinforced cement concrete with two walls on either side with provisions for manhole, chute etc. This has been done in front of several houses leaving little space between the gate of the house and that of the drainage structure. As the work has been going on for mor

'Drop all falsed charges': 150 citizens demand early release of AltNews co-founder

Counterview Desk  About 150 concerned citizens have demanded the release of Mohammed Zubair, co-founder of the fact-checkng newsportal AltNews, arrested over a 2018 tweet which allegedly hurt religious sentiments, even as booking for criminal conspiracy and having received foreign funds in violation of the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA). Denied bail last weekend and sent to 14-day judicial custody, the concerned citizens, in a statement, regretted that while the Delhi High Court issued notice to the Delhi police on a petition filed on behalf of Zubair challenging the legality and propriety of his police remand and the seizure of his electronic devices, the “frivolous case” continues. Excerpts: The illegal arrest of Mr. Mohammed Zubair happened on June 27, 2022, by the Delhi Police for allegedly hurting religious sentiments and promoting enmity over a tweet from 2018. The IPC Sections included 153(a) (Promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race,

Prime Minister's 'affordable' housing policy fails to help Gujarat slum dwellers: Study

By Rajiv Shah  A new study on the implementation of one of the major policy initiatives for the urban poor by the Narendra Modi government after it came to power, Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (PMAY), has said that in Gujarat, which happens to be the Prime Minister’s home state, has quoted state officials as “confirming” that no progress towards tenure regularization, a key requirement for providing housing to the state’s slum dwellers. Stating that this particularly true of smaller town, the study, carried out by the non-profit Homes in the City (HIC), which is based in Bhuj, district headquarter of Kutch that saw a devastating earthquake in 2001, says, the failure to provide affordable housing is there despite the fact that there has been “significant demand” in all the 83 out of 153 Gujarat municipalities studied by experts involved in the study. According to the study, out f a total of 1.41 lakh demands for housing under the Beneficiary Led Construction (BLC) category, 94,232 (66.7%)

Electricity Bill: Centre's reform measures contain 'carrot and stick package' for states

Counterview Desk  The Peoples’ Commission on Public Sector and Public Services (PCPSPS), claiming to be a network of eminent academics, jurists, erstwhile administrators, trade unionists and social activists, seeking consultations with stakeholders with those who are against the government’s decision to monetise, disinvest and privatise public assets/enterprises, has said that the proposed Electricity (Amendment) Bill-2022 will have far-reaching impacts on the finances of states. Insisting that the proposed Bill would lead to “assault on India’s federal structure”, in a statement, it says, it would weaken the finances of states’ power distribution companies, have adverse impact on utility employees, cripple the states' finances, impose a heavy cost burden on the smaller subsidized consumers (especially farmers), and benefit only corporate business houses. “States cannot afford to ignore the far-reaching implications of the Bill on their economy, finances, agricultural and industria

'Highly abnormal': AltNews journo's arrest suggests 'deterioration in media freedom'

By Bharat Dogra*  Leading media organizations have come out in strong support of recently arrested journalist Mohammed Zubair. These organizations include, among others, the Editors Guild of India, the Press Club of India, the Delhi Union of Journalists and DIGIPUB, a platform for several important digital media organizations. All these organizations have condemned the recent arrest of the noted journalist and demanded his immediate release. While leading human rights organizations and political parties have also made somewhat similar statements, the strong support of media organizations is particularly important as the effort of the authorities has been to try to present the arrested journalist as someone who has been indulging in irresponsible journalism.  In such a situation the support of those media organizations who are familiar with his work and who are most capable of judging the quality of his work is very important. In this context it is important that some media organization

Majoritarian silence helping Hindutva forces 'handover' national resources to corporates

By Bhabani Shankar Nayak*  The majority of Indian citizens are witnessing the persecution and everyday violence against their fellow citizens who are Muslims and religious minorities. The growing assaults on reason, science, secularism, Indian democracy and constitution are going to be landmarks in Indian history of diminishing democracy and citizenship rights. It is clear that Hindutva ideology is directly promoting sectarian politics of hate which is dangerous for the unity and integrity of India, peace and prosperity of Indians. The majoritarian silence helps in empowering Hindutva and their electoral dividends. From witnessing the persecution in the sidelines to the active participation and cheering loud or silence accelerates violence against our neighbours and our fellow citizens. How and why do majority of Indians stay silent and contribute to the persecution of their fellow citizens who are Muslims and religious minorities? The question baffles me as an Indian because I have gr