By : Shashank Suresh
Akhilesh Yadav is working long hours at the Samajwadi Party office in Lucknow, visiting party cadre and possible ticket-seekers, and discreetly planning his strategy for possibly the most important political battle of his life in Uttar Pradesh in 2022. Since the last election, which turned out to be a disaster, according to leaders close to Akhilesh, a lot has been worked out for the Samajwadi Party. One, the family is reuniting, with Akhilesh’s uncle Shivpal Singh Yadav.
AIMIM: Will they swing votes?
Following a strong showing in the 2020 Bihar assembly elections, Asaduddin Owaisi, the leader of the All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM), has his sights set on Uttar Pradesh (UP), which goes to the polls next year. In Uttar Pradesh, Owaisi appears to be focusing on Akhilesh Yadav’s Samajwadi Party (SP). It was evident from what Owaisi said on January 13 during his most recent visit to the country’s most populous state that AIMIM saw SP as its major competitor.
He informed reporters shortly after landing in Varanasi that he was stopped 12 times from entering Uttar Pradesh during the Akhilesh government’s tenure (from 2012 to 2017), and permission to enter was denied 28 times. In the Uttar Pradesh assembly elections next year, AIMIM will run for 100 seats. They will run candidates in the state’s western, central, and eastern regions, which are dominated by Muslims. It fared well in the recently ended panchayat election in Uttar Pradesh, with 24 of its candidates winning. AIMIM’s confidence was reinforced by their big debut in the Bihar elections last November.
Many regarded the panchayat elections as a warm-up for the assembly elections since they provide a snapshot of the reality on the ground in rural areas. The SP claims that the candidates it backed fared very well because there is widespread dissatisfaction with the government among rural residents.
The BJP claims that it did better than in 2015. Candidates effectively represent one political party or another in the polls, which are not contested based on party insignia. In the rural elections, more than 8.69 lakh positions were up for grabs. Over 7.32 lakh gram panchayat seats were available, including 58,176 in gram panchayats, 75,852 in kshetra (block) panchayats, and 3,050 in Zilla panchayats. According to the state electoral commission, almost 3.19 lakh candidates were elected without opposition.
On the one hand, the BJP lost in the Ayodhya-Kashi-Mathura circuit to the opposition, which is viewed as a major setback for the saffron camp’s Hindutva platform. However, the Upper Doab area of Western UP, where the BJP has emerged as the main party, has delivered an equally startling result. This area is significant because it is home to all of the leaders of the farmers’ movement.
Looking at the results by area, SP has retained a large advantage in the state’s Awadh, Poorvanchal, Rohilkhand, and Lower Doab regions. In the state’s Bundelkhand and Upper Doab areas, the BJP was successful in gaining the most seats. While the BSP has maintained its third-place position in all six areas, Congress has fallen to fourth place. In Awadh, the SP won 28 percent of the 760 seats in the area, while the BJP won 18 percent. The BSP and Congress won 8% and 2% of the seats, respectively, while other parties got 43% of the seats. The SP has weakened the BJP in its heartland area, and it will be up to Awadh’s urban pockets to repair the damage in nine months.
The results in Poorvanchal show that the SP has cemented its hold on the rural voters, with the party winning 23 percent of the region’s 878 Zilla panchayat seats. The BJP is expected to win 15% of the seats, while the BSP and Congress are expected to win 11% and 2%, respectively. Others were victorious in 49% of the seats in the region. Gorakhpur, the hometown of chief minister Yogi Adityanath, is located in Poorvanchal. Furthermore, the fact that Prime Minister Narendra Modi represents this region in the Lok Sabha has just added salt to the BJP’s injury. In terms of numbers, the SP won 202 of the 878 Zilla panchayat seats in this region, while the BJP took 134. The BSP and Congress won 95 and 21 seats, respectively, in this election, while others won 426 seats.
The sitting government claims it cannot be held responsible for a pandemic since it is a natural occurrence that occurs all around the world. The Samajwadi Party, on the other hand, claims that people have died not only as a result of Covid but also as a result of the government’s mismanagement and lack of preparedness. Covid, according to the SP, will be a major influence in the 2022 assembly elections.
“The coronavirus has infected the whole country, and everyone has acted properly, except for those who should have done responsibly. People in positions of authority, who might have arranged for hospital beds, oxygen, and medications, not only shown laxity but also embezzled cash in the name of Covid. How can those who have lost loved ones owing to a lack of oxygen, a lack of beds, or a lack of ambulances forget the BJP’s harsh face?” a prominent member of the Samajwadi Party remarked