Is the BJP poll juggernaut slowing? Lessons for the party from setbacks in UP


The defeat of BJP in the by-election for the UP’s two Lok Sabha seats – Gorakhpur and Phulpur – may pave the way for realignment of political forces in the state. Moreover, the results for Gorakhpur and Phulpur indicate that the fresh political understanding between the state’s two traditional rivals – BSP and SP- has properly worked at the ground level.

While BJP bagged Phulpur LS seat after Keshav Prasad Maurya’s victory in 2014 polls for the first time, Yogi Adityanath continued to represent Gorakhpur in the Lok Sabha since 1998. Yogi and Maurya recently vacated their seats – Gorakhpur and Phulpur – following their elevation as UP CM and deputy CM respectively.

While it is seen as an attempt on part of the SP to correct its social base by wooing the Most Backward Castes (MBC) in the by-elections, the BSP is now in position to counter the questions over the party’s capacity to transfer its vote bank.

Unlike the past, the plus point for the SP in the by-election for Gorakhpur LS seat is that the party was locked in a direct battle with the BJP in absence of BSP candidate. Just a week before the polling, BSP local leaders in both the constituencies – Gorakhpur and Phulpur- silently started supporting the SP candidates. Since SP made no mistake in selecting its right candidate Praveen Nishad (MBC) who is son of Nishad Party’s President Sanjay Nishad, it also apparently suited the political interest of BSP in the area. It might have made BSP’s task easy to prompt its cadre to vote in favour of SP candidate.

BSP has been making its all best efforts to bring back its MBC votes under its banner following its poor performance in the 2017 UP assembly polls.

Gorakhpur is also known in UP politics for its political rivalry between Thakurs and Brahmins from very beginning. Yogi enjoys a good support among the Thakurs in the area. This time BJP fielded a Brahmin face Upendra Dutta Shukla as its nominee from Gorakhpur in the by-election.

In Phulpur, both the parties – BJP and SP – made their choices in two Patel candidates. While SP fielded Nagendra Pratap Singh Patel, former mayor of Varanasi Kaushalendra Singh Patel became BJP’ choice. Patels have a strong presence in Phulpur. “BJP’s local unit was not happy with Kaushelnedra’s candidature,” a source in Allahabad told ET.

The results may raise questions over the BJP’s micro-planning for booth management in its organizational structure. BJP is credited for continuously monitoring its preparation for 2019 LS battle at booth level.

Source: Economic Times