Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav has won the fight against his father Mulayam Singh Yadav to keep the ‘cycle’. Family feud done with, now comes the battle of the state. With Samajwadi Party and Congress joining hands for the upcoming polls, the alliance is likely to be a body blow to the Bharatiya Janata Party who has been trying to reestablish itself in Uttar Pradesh.
It’s not just the rival parties who are voicing this concern for the BJP. Even Right-wing publication Swarajya has in an editorial asserted that Akhilesh stands a better chance of winning the upcoming UP polls than the BJP.
It has quoted several reasons why Akhilesh might have an upper hand. The main of those are:
1) Strong Muslim vote: The editorial claims that with the SP and the Congress coming together, the Muslim vote is likely to stay united against the BJP. Despite Mulayam being relegated to a corner, Yadavs will be supporting unlikely the Samajwadi Party. Though Mulayam has been left with no specific hold in the party, he is unlikely to have a negative impact on Akhilesh’s chances in the elections.
2) Development agenda: Akhilesh came to power banking on the development agenda. Five years down the line, Akhilesh is standing is standing firm on his stand that he had in the last elections, that of development. A lot has been done by his government in the state and the development agenda is likely to be in favour of the young CM. Though Mayawati’s Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) is fielding more Muslim and upper caste candidates in this election as opposed to Dalits, she is not expected to give a tough fight to the SP. The BJP might hope that the division of votes by Muslims benefits them, but there is unlikely to be a divide as Muslims seem to be rallying behind the SP.
3) No CM candidate for BJP: While Akhilesh is the CM candidate for the SP-Congress combine, Mayawati is the face of the BSP, there is no face of the BJP on the state level. Hence, people are more likely to vote in favour of Akhilesh. However, BJP is trying to get its caste equation right by fielding non-Yadav OBCs, Brahmins, Rajputs and Jats in its first list of candidates.
4) Demonetisation: Will demonetisation affect BJP’s chances of winning elections in Uttar Pradesh and for other poll-bound states? It does not seem so but whatever the verdict be, it is sure that it will be linked as an after effect of demonetisation.
5) Win-Win for Congress: For years, Congress has been struggling to gain a foothold in Uttar Pradesh. Despite several attempts, it has not been able to gain the popularity it once had. Even Congress is well aware of the situation that it will not be able to single-handedly make a mark in the 2017 elections in the state. But fighting alongside SP, Congress will be able to at least win on one front, that is stopping BJP from winning in the state.