Lok Sabha Elections 2019: Development mantra to be on test in UP’s pollscape
Hectic activity was witnessed in the corridors of power 48 hours before the Election Commission of India announced the Lok Sabha poll programme as the Yogi Adityanath government fast-tracked files and gave last-minute clearances to beat the model code of conduct.
Before the poll schedule was announced, the chief minister strove hard to get a number of development programmes going and had several of them launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Adityanath, whose government completed two years in office on March 19, lays claim to a long list of achievements which, he says, will form the basis of the BJP winning 74 out of the 80 Lok Sabha seats in Uttar Pradesh.
Will development be a major issue in 2019 Lok Sabha elections?
There have been examples of many governments being voted back to power for the development work they claimed to have carried out in the respective states. The UPA government’s return to power in 2009 Lok Sabha elections too was to some extent attributed to implementation of government schemes like farm loan waiver and rural job scheme, the MNREGA, that benefitted a large number of people in the country.
Yet, development may not guarantee victory in elections. If past give any indication, caste and communal factors have contributed a lot to victories and losses in spite of development work they carried out in respective assembly and Lok Sabha constituencies.
The BJP’s defeat in by-election to Gorakhpur, Phulpur and Kairana Lok Sabha seats last year is attributed mainly to realigned caste equations there and in the state’s political scenario. Chief minister Yogi Adityanath and deputy chief minister Keshav Prasad Maurya had won Gorakhpur and Phulpur Lok Sabha seats in 2014 Lok Sabha elections.
The BJP lost both the seats vacated by them as the Samajwadi Party and the BSP decided to join hands in the by-elections. The SP-BSP alliance of backward classes and Dalits is considered a formidable caste combination.
Their coming together resulted in the defeat of the BJP candidate in Kairana by-election too, where the SP-BSP combination ensured the RLD candidate’s victory. Yet, the BJP is counting on development work carried out by the Yogi government in the state in addition to the Modi government’s achievements.
The BJP leaders claim a windfall of votes as they speak about the number of beneficiaries of various development schemes implemented in the state. If the claims of BJP leaders were to be believed, 23 lakh families benefitted in urban and rural areas under the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana.
The Swachh Bharat Mission has given 2.49 crore toilets while 2.84 lakh hamlets have been electrified under the NDA’s electrification scheme. The Saubhagya Yojana has 95 lakh beneficiaries and Ujjawala has covered 1.12 crore beneficiaries with free LPG connections.
Aayushman Bharat has 6.47 crore eligible members from 1.18 crore families.
Under this scheme, medical treatment has been administered to 54,000 patients. Mukhya Mantri Jan Aarogya Abhiyan has been launched recently and is expected to have covered 54 lakh people up to now.UP BJP general secretary Vijay Bahadur Pathak said successful implementation of various development schemes directly benefiting people will be a great advantage to the party in the Lok Sabha election.
Others too support these claims. “If voters do not take caste and communal factors into consideration, then development turns out to be a major issue. The BJP government in the state has done a lot of good work on the development front. There is no reason for the voters not to take note of such major achievements,” said Professor BK Bajpai, director, Giri Institute of Development Studies. Have the benefits actually reached the people? “Yes, people have benefitted from these schemes. The Yogi Adityanath government appointed lok kalyan mitras in all the 822 development blocks of the state. The work of Lok Kalyan Mitras has been to oversee implementation of development schemes and ensure that benefits reached the intended beneficiaries,” said Bajpai.
Major opposition parties, however, question the achievements.
“The Yogi Adityanath government has not been able to carry out any development and implement any new schemes. So, the chief minister only carried out the programmes of the SP government. The people have realised this,” said Samajwadi Party spokesman Rajendra Chaudhary.