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Dissent in the ranks: BJP MLAs target Yogi govt after Kairana upset

Saffron leadership likely to balance caste equations through a cabinet reshuffle to regain footing among voters.

lucknow Updated: Jun 01, 2018 17:29 IST
Manish Chandra Pandey
Manish Chandra Pandey
Hindustan Times, Lucknow
BJP,Yogi Adityanath,Kairana
Chief minister Yogi Adityanath is likely to attend several regional-level meetings in the coming days to gather feedback on the bypoll results.(AFP)

The BJP’s losses in the Kairana Lok Sabha and Noorpur assembly bypolls two months after equally stunning upsets in Gorakhpur and Phulpur have made several lawmakers target their own government in Uttar Pradesh.

A poem posted on Facebook by Hardoi BJP MLA Shyam Prakash soon after the results emerged seemed to suggest that while the 2014 Lok Sabha and 2017 assembly polls were won through “Modi magic”, the state leadership was unable to make the most of it. He also described chief minister Yogi Adityanath as ‘asahay’, or helpless.

“Modi naam se paa gaye raaj, kar na sake janata mann kaaj, sangh sangathan haath lagaam, mukhyamantri bhi asahay (The BJP won power through Modi but failed to live up to the people’s expectations. The chief minister, controlled by the sangh and organisation, remains helpless),” he said in the post.

Prakash also questioned the government’s handling of the bureaucracy, stating that both the people and their representatives were fed up because corruption had set in.

Surendra Singh, the BJP MLA from Bairia, also termed corruption among bureaucrats as one of the main reasons for the party’s loss.

However, sources said a leadership change in the state was unlikely at this juncture. “Yogi has lived by the BJP rulebook ever since he took over as the chief minister,” a BJP leader said on the condition of anonymity. “Any leadership change at the moment would seem like he is being made a scapegoat.”

The party, instead, would prefer taking a less drastic step like balancing caste equations through a cabinet reshuffle to regain its footing among voters. “Everything is possible in politics, and yes, the knives may be out again. A leadership change may help blunt anti-incumbency to some extent, but the advantages brought to the table by our monk-chief minister outweigh that by far,” said another BJP leader.

The BJP leadership has reportedly asked for a review of the bypoll results. Party chief Amit Shah is expected to visit Uttar Pradesh soon and hold several rounds of talks with state leaders to discuss ways to thwart the budding alliance between the Samajwadi Party and the Bahujan Samaj Party.

“We managed to win two the five assembly segments in Kairana, but were finally overpowered by the alliance. However, tie-ups between opposition parties will not be able to stop Modiji from becoming the Prime Minister again,” said state BJP president Mahendra Nath Pandey.

Others in the saffron party, however, admitted that the bypoll results had given fresh impetus to talks of opposition unity against the BJP in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls. They also agreed that party chief Amit Shah’s target of “80 seats and 50% of votes in Uttar Pradesh” was highly ambitious.

However, the party is unlikely to compromise on the Hindutva plank despite the Jinnah issue backfiring in west Uttar Pradesh. Adityanath is likely to attend several regional-level meetings in the coming days to gather feedback on the bypoll results.

First Published: Jun 01, 2018 16:25 IST