Who Will Win in UP Election?
Who Will Win Uttar Pradesh Election?
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Who Will Win Uttar Pradesh Election?
Who Will Win Uttar Pradesh Election?
Campaign hotting up
The campaign for the UP Assembly Election is hotting up. The elections are to take place next month. All the political leaders are camping in different parts of UP and canvassing for their respective party candidates. Uttar Pradesh is the largest State in India and has 403 constituencies. The UP Chief Minister Mayawati is determined to keep her saddle in tact and is frenetically working towards it.
UP was a Congress bastion once upon a time
UP was a Congress bastion during the period of Jawaharlal Nehru and Indira Gandhi. The Congress Party was successful for many years because of a magic formula it followed in UP politics. The formula was Dalits + Muslims + Brahmins = Victory. But this formula was broken in the eighties because of several factors. First of all, Kanshi Ram floated the Bahujan Samaj Party and weaned away the Dalits from the Congress. Mulayam Singh Yadav’s Samajwadi Party weaned away the Muslims from the Congress. BJP weaned away the Brahmins from the Congress. Having lost its base, the Congress was left in the lurch, fending for itself. Today, the Congress is not even the second or third largest party in UP. The Congress finds its base shattered and has to rebuild it from the scratch. It is a very difficult and arduous task. Rahul Gandhi is trying to resurrect the party from the ruins, but how far he will be successful in such a short time is debatable.
Mulayam Singh was the most successful in breaking the Congress stranglehold
Mulayam Singh Yadav was the most successful politician, capitalising on the fall of the big tree Congress Party in UP. Yadav won the trustworthiness of the vast majority of the Muslims who form a sizeable portion of the population of UP. Yadav also won a sizeable portion of the backward class votes including his own Yadav community votes. With this, he was the king of his kingdom until Mayawati changed the equation by winning the trust of the Brahmins in 2007 elections.
Brahmin votes crucial
Mayawati had already the confidence of her own community Dalits. Highest percentage of population of the Dalits is found in UP among all the states in India. This favoured Mayawati, but with Dalit support alone, she could not win any election on her own. Of course, with the support of the BJP, she was able to capture power many times and became Chief Minister. To win the election on her own, she needed the support of at least another big group. Muslims supporting Mayawati is ruled out because of her past friendship with BJP. Backward classes mainly stand by Mulayam Singh Yadav and not with Mayawati. Therefore, Mayawati made efforts to pull the Brahmins towards her side. She conducted Brahmin conferences and eulogised the Brahmin community and its virtues. She promised minister posts for the Brahmins. This worked in her favour. In UP, the percentage of Brahmins to the total population is high at 15% compared to any other states. Having won the Brahmin community in her favour, it was a cake walk for Mayawati in the 2007 elections. She triumphed and occupied the citadel.
Same formula will not work this time for Mayawati
Strictly speaking, the same formula should work for Mayawati this time also and she should be able to retain her power next month for another five years. But this is easier said than done. Mayawati has lost her image and name because of squandering of the public money to build statues all over UP. The amount involved is huge in thousands of crores of rupees. This money could have been used to benefit the people of UP with many welfare schemes or to generate thousands of jobs by starting big factories. But she did not do it. This has angered the people of UP and this anger will be reflected in the elections. Mayawati is also associated with big corruption and her public image has been sullied. Of course, whatever Mayawati does will not affect her Dalit support. The Dalits will support Mayawati as they feel she is their leader and will not let her down for any reason whatsoever.
Brahmins may disown Mayawati
But Brahmins will not keep quiet this time. Unlike the Dalits, the Brahmins do not feel that Mayawati is their leader. In 2007, the Brahmins for a change voted for Mayawati as they were disillusioned by the policies of the Congress and the BJP whom they had been supporting in the past. But now the Brahmins have been definitely disillusioned and angered by the acts of Mayawati. The promise of a few minister posts to the Brahmins will not sway them towards Mayawati anymore. The Brahmins are bound to vote for either the Congress or the BJP. In other words, the Brahmin votes will be divided between the Congress and the BJP.
A serious handicap for Mayawati
Muslims who form 20% of the population of UP will more or less remain loyal to Mulayam Singh Yadav. Brahmins who form 15% of the population of UP will split their votes between the Congress and the BJP. Dalits who form 20% of the population of UP will stay with Mayawati. Therefore the outcome of the UP assembly election will depend on how the rest of the population forming around 45% of the population of the UP are going to vote. This 45% of the population belong to the backward class. The backward class people generally do not support Mayawati as they are at loggerheads with the Dalits. Even the Brahmins and the Dalits can co-exist, but backward class and Dalits find difficult to coexist. This is a serious handicap for Mayawati.
Rahul Gandhi will not succeed in his mission
Mulayam Singh is better placed to derive maximum benefit from the votes of the backward class people. The backward class supported BJP when Kalyan Singh was its leader. Kalyan Singh himself belongs to the backward class. But with the exit of Kalyan Singh, BJP has lost the votes of the backward class also. Congress never enjoyed the support of backward class even during the heydays of Nehru and Indira Gandhi. Therefore it cannot count on their support now notwithstanding Rahul Gandhi’s efforts. Moreover Rahul Gandhi is trying to wean the Dalits from the grip of Mayawati. He is visiting the Dalit slums and dining with them. He will not be successful in his mission as the Dalits are firmly entrenched in the Mayawati camp.
Rahul Gandhi should change his tactic for success
Rahul Gandhi should try to change his tactics. If victory for the Congress is his goal, Rahul should try to woo the Brahmins, Muslims and the backward classes. In other words, the new formula for the Congress should be Muslims + Brahmins + Backward Classes = Victory. But this formula has its own contradictions as the backward class and the Brahmins cannot be in the same camp unlike the Brahmins and the Dalits who can coexist. Right now, Mulayam Singh Yadav stands to gain because of the loss of Brahmin support to Mayawati. With 20% Muslims and another 20%-30% backward class votes, Mulayam Singh Yadav can comfortably sit in the saddle in Lucknow and will replace Mayawati who has only the 20% Dalit support. Thus number game favours Mulayam Singh Yadav and his Samajwadi Party right now.
Number game is fluctuating
But this number game is a fluctuating one. In politics, what was yesterday goes to pieces today and what is today will be no more tomorrow. Therefore, even before the ink dries, a new situation may emerge as election is still one month away. At one stage in the past I had written an article stating that Mayawati looked likely to retain her crown. But I have changed that opinion now with developing new scenario.
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