'Achche din' missing in BJP's UP bypoll campaign
The much-talked-about Gujarat model of development has not found many takers among BJP's star campaigners in Uttar Pradesh ahead of the by-elections to one Lok Sabha and 11 assembly seats slated for Saturday.india Updated: Sep 13, 2014 00:18 IST
The much-talked-about Gujarat model of development has not found many takers among Bharatiya Janata Party's (BJP's) star campaigners in Uttar Pradesh ahead of the by-elections to one Lok Sabha and 11 assembly seats slated for Saturday.
The 'achche din' promise has also taken a back seat, while BJP MP Yogi Adityanath has launched a war against 'love jihad'.
High-profile Union ministers were missing in the campaigning phase, even though the by-elections are key to the BJP's fortune in the politically crucial UP where it won 71 of the 80 seats in the April-May Lok Sabha elections under the leadership of Amit Shah, who is now the party chief.
The Lok Sabha election plank of the Guajarat model may be in the back-burner, but Shah's "BJP-yukt UP (read BJP-fied UP)" slogan is the new hit, especially since the party is eyeing to form the next government in the state.
The BJP holds all 11 assembly seats - one with its ally Apna Dal - which go to polls on Saturday.
After suffering setbacks in the recently held bypolls in Uttarakhand, Bihar and Karnataka, the BJP will want to register some feel-good victories in the Saturday chapter of elections in UP and nine other states.
Besides, Prime Minister Narendra Modi represents the prestigious Varanasi parliamentary constituency in UP. The results could also be decoded as a reflection on his performance.
Meanwhile, the Bahujan Samaj Party's (BSP's) absence from the electoral fray could give the BJP an edge. This means the BJP can go all out to woo the 'saffronised Dalits'.
For this crucial vote bank, the ruling Samajwadi Party (SP) is not a favoured choice; neither is the Congress.
But, chief minister Akhilesh Yadav, whose SP government is faced with the anti-incumbency threat, is trying to turn the tables, questioning the central government's performance.
His father, Mulayam, on his part, has raised national issues and challenged Modi at election rallies: "I will garland Modi if he can get our encroached land back from Pakistan and China."
Incidentally, none of the senior BJP national leaders, barring Union minister Kalraj Mishra, have campaigned for the bypolls.
Even Union home minister Rajnath Singh, who is indebted to BJP veteran Lalji Tandon for handing over Atal Bihari Vajpayee's Lucknow seat to him, has not addressed any rally in the state capital.
Some posters of Modi and Shah can be spotted here and there, but few are talking about the Prime Minister's achievements.
A reason cited by some BJP leaders is that the bypolls are for the state assembly and not the Lok Sabha.
However, Mainpuri still remains in the question. SP national president Mulayam has launched a no-holds barred battle to retain this Lok Sabha seat.
For the BJP, a campaign led by state chief Laxmikant Bajpai and firebrand MP Yogi Adityanath has focused primarily on "communal" issues.
While the national leadership of the BJP has been distancing itself from issues like 'love jihad', conversion and cow slaughter, the party's state leaders seem to have nothing else to harp on. After all, statements like 'No Jodhabai will go to Akbar' touch a chord.
Strangely, the Election Commission sought an explanation from Yogi Adityanath, who made the statement and defied a poll meeting ban, two days before the campaigning came to a close.
But, in the opposition's words, the damage had already been done to the state's social fabric by then.
However, Adityanath's brand of politics will face an acid test in Mainpuri, where Mulayam had been campaigning for his grandnephew and taking on Modi directly.