How UP BJP overcame its weak areas to eclipse the Opposition
Administrative steps taken by the government to redress public grievances helped the party in winning 62 seats by mustering 50 per cent vote share
Besides the combined onslaught of the opposition, the BJP in Uttar Pradesh had faced another major challenge at the administrative level -- farm stress, stray cattle, erratic power supply and execution of Prime Minister’s flagship schemes in a huge state.
While firm directives were issued to speedily execute the flagship schemes which was also being monitored at the party level, chief minister Yogi Adityanath actually realised the challenge of stray cattle after the campaigning for the seven-phase polls had begun.
While watching a programme late night, he heard a woman, who, while rooting for Modi publicly, made a request to him , ‘We have a message for Yogi. He should control the menace of stray cattle which is destroying our crop.’
The chief minister, who shared this incident in an informal chat with senior journalists, said he immediately summoned his senior officials to his Kalidas Marg official residence and directed them to organise a video conference with senior district officials the very next day.
Directives were issued to move all stray cattle to the ‘gau shala’ for which funds had already been released. ‘Four lakh cattle heads --abandoned cows and buffaloes --were moved to the cow shelters. Had we not taken urgent steps, people would have been unhappy,’ the chief minister said.
Similarly, the issues of farm stress and power supply were also addressed with PM’s Jan Dhan Yojna proving to be a gamechanger.
First instalment of ₹2,000 under Modi’s farm income support scheme reached one crore six lakh beneficiaries within weeks of the notification by the central government. Many of them also received second instalment of ₹2000.
A senior official said, ‘The execution of Prime Minister’s flagship schemes also helped in neutralizing whatever negative image of the state government was built by the opposition. The government ensured there was no discrimination in the selection of beneficiaries.’
This is also reflected in the shift of Yadav and Jatav votes to the BJP in some constituencies though the political reason was their dislike for each other at the ground level.
The poor victory margin of Mulayam Singh Yadav in Yadav dominated Mainpuri is one such example.
While informally discussing the Gorakhpur victory, Yogi did admit his concern over poor management of the election in his stronghold during the initial days. ‘I then decided to take the command in my hands instead of changing the candidate as some people had suggested.’
Not only he avenged the humiliating defeat of losing his stronghold of Gorakhpur in the 2018 by-poll, but also won all the nine seats in the division. Incidentally, it is for the first time in 40 years of Gorakhpur’s political history that a Bhojpuri star Ravi Kishan, who does not belong to the mutt, has been elected with a huge majority.
Thus micro management at the booth level , the blueprint of which was laid out by party president Amit Shah taking special care of the weak areas, coupled with some prompt administrative steps taken by the government to redress public grievances helped the party in winning 62 seats by mustering 50 percent vote share despite the combined challenge from the SP-BSP-RLD alliance.
Some insights: While the BJP candidate Dinesh Lal Yadav in Azamgarh was told to take away atleast 25 percent Yadav votes to win the seat, the party’s Saharanpur candidate Raghav Lakhanpal was given the homework to ensure the Congress candidate Imran Masood mustered two lakh Muslim votes to damage the prospects of alliance candidate Haji Fazulurrehman. Division of minority votes meant victory of the BJP.
The seats on the radar were Amethi, Kannauj, Ferozabad, Azamgarh, Mainpuri , Badaun, Kushi Nagar, which were considered the stronghold of the alliance or the Congress.
UP’s contribution of 62 seats despite the grand alliance of SP-BSP-RLD will silence Yogi baiters, who were demanding a change in leadership before the elections were held. Many were expecting that in case the party’s numbers had fallen. But now the knives are back in the scabbard.