Elections in UP

THE Assembly elections due in five states early next year is charging up the political climate in the country. The home minister Amit Shah on November 12 kicked off his party’s preparations for the crucial Assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh from Lucknow by addressing organisational functionaries from across the state. Shah reportedly told the gathering that the results of the 2022 UP elections would be crucial for the 2024 Lok Sabha elections saying that the route to victory in Delhi passes through Uttar Pradesh. In 2017, the BJP and its allies had won 325 Assembly seats. Shah asked the state party unit to work towards an even bigger victory. He said that the SP, the BSP and the Congress together can’t defeat the BJP.

Congress, on the other hand, has decided to go solo in Uttar Pradesh and contest all 403 Assembly constituencies. Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi on Sunday ruled out any chances of a pre-poll alliance with political parties. This is a big decision considering that the Congress has been doing well in Uttar Pradesh for three decades now. The Congress has also announced that 40 percent of the party’s tickets will be reserved for women this time. According to Priyanka, the “politics of hate” can be changed by more women joining politics. Whether this would make any difference only the election outcome will tell.

But for now it appears that it would be difficult to completely dislodge the BJP. An ABP-CVoter poll shows that the BJP will return to power in the UP but not without the party losing over 100 seats it won in the last state elections. In Punjab, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and Congress (INC) are locked in a neck-and-neck fight, but without either hitting the majority mark. Goa, on the other hand, is set to go the BJP’s way.

However, it would be the UP election that would be the centre of political attention. Its outcome, as the home minister said, largely decides who rules in New Delhi. BJP thus would leave no stone unturned that it gets back to power in the state even if it loses a small chunk of seats. For Congress, it would be equally important to put up some decent showing to stay in the reckoning for 2024 national polls. The UP polls would also be a litmus test for caste-based parties like the SP and the BSP. The rise of Hindutva has swallowed most of their vote-bank. It will be interesting to see how these parties fare this time around.

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