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UP Elections: Why is BJP Heading Towards a Slump?

Neelu Vyas |
If the BJP does not come up to its magic figure, the fall guy will undoubtedly be the saffron-clad Chief Minister from the Gorakhnath Math.
UP Elections: Why is BJP Heading Towards a Slump?

Representational Image. Image Courtesy: Amar Ujala

On a day when Uttar Pradesh concluded the pivotal fifth phase of polling in 61 Vidhan Sabha constituencies in the Eastern belt, Prime Minister Narendra Modi was seen canvassing in the holy city of Varanasi. He looked tired, with a raw throat, and his tone of appeal rang with an echo amongst the data analysts, poll strategists, and political soothsayers who have been hinting that at the end of five phases, the BJP seems to be on a slippery wicket. 

The voter turnout reflected similar sentiment as well. The politico-cultural belt of Hindutva from Ayodhya to Prayagraj, and from Bahraich (bordering Nepal) to Chitrakoot in bandit land recorded less than a moderate 54.98%, which is lower than the corresponding phase of 2017 Assembly polls as it was 58.24%. These 12 districts of the fifth phase were by and large the hotbed of Hindutva politics, where Kamal or the lotus could have blossomed well. It was this region from which the BJP had the maximum expectation. Still, the electorate did not come out of their homes to vote, which squarely points to a high level of anti-incumbency, a grave disenchantment with the government. 

Perhaps the reason for PM Modi’s fatigue in his Varanasi speech was the realisation that none of the communal tricks like Jinnah, jaalidar topi, hijab or gazwaihind seemed to be working on the ground. No wonder the party very smartly booted out the pictures of Yogi Adityanath from its posters, with PM Modi explicitly taking on the reins for the remaining two phases. So, we all know if the BJP does not come up to its magic figure, the fall guy will certainly be the saffron-clad Chief Minister from the Gorakhnath Math. 

So, what is the weapon left in PM Modi’s armoury? It can be gauged from just reading between the lines of his speeches. Coming back to his Varanasi speech, Modi evoked sympathy by saying that his adversary (Samajwadi Party) prayed for his death, taking the people back to the times when Akhilesh Yadav at the beginning of the campaign said that people came to Varanasi towards the fag end of their lives. The Prime Minister peppered this phrase of Akhilesh with commiseration and fellow feeling and retorted by saying that he would die working for the development of Kashi Vishwanath and no one could stop him from doing so. He also said nothing would be greater than to die in the service of Kashi and Shiva devotees. Doesn’t this sound like a CHOIR ETERNAL?

Amid chants of ‘Bharat mata ki jai’ and ‘Har har Mahadev’, Prime Minister Narendra Modi also appealed to voters to go out and vote for “development” in large numbers. He appealed to his supporters to go from home to home and persuade people to come out and vote. “Will you do as I ask? Will you come out and vote in large numbers? Take my message to every home, go from home to home and ask people to come out and vote?” he asked. Does this fervent appeal not reflect being smoked out by a person on the wrong side of the grass? 

PM Modi also listed the government welfare schemes reaching the last mile during Yogi’s tenure of five years and mounted the Rashtrawadis versus Pariwaarvadis (Nationalists Vs Nepotists) narrative, but nothing seemed to draw the voters this time. The voters’ disillusionment seems to have soured the pitch of the BJP’s cauldron. It is too early to write off the BJP completely, as the silent women voters could still hold the key. However, one thing heading to a near certainty is that the BJP does not seem to be repeating the charismatic number of 300 plus, which they bagged in 2017. What will be the possible political alignments is something to watch out for. As a postscript, I must say that the SP-RLD alliance has managed to trounce the invincibility of BJP, but the scale of vanquishment, for now, appears to be any man’s guess.

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