By Dheeraj Upadhyay
Lucknow: Battle lines have been drawn and all the political parties have been busy drawing voters’ attention to garner the mandate in UP elections 2022. But on the ground, only the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Samajwadi Party (SP) seem to be active and challenging each other. To make a comeback in the state, SP chief, Akhilesh Yadav, is working hard and leading from the front, by flagging off “Samajwadi Vijay Yatras” and addressing huge rallies.
Will the pre-poll alliance be third-time lucky for Akhilesh in UP? What is his strategy?
No one can underestimate the political acumen of UP voters; which elects 403 MLAs, 80 Lok Sabha MPs, and 31 Rajya Sabha MPs from the state. Going by past trends, UP prefers, decisive mandate. Elections in UP are similar to any other state, which primarily rides on narratives and high-intensity campaigns. Meanwhile, Akhilesh too is walking the talk by commanding SP’s campaign across the state. His campaign has so far received a warm response across the state, though it translates into votes or not is the question of time.
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Akhilesh Yadav was frequently criticized by various political observers and analysts; due to his inactivity on the ground as the leader of the state’s main opposition party. Although, he can be seen taking on the Yogi Govt through Twitter. But, now he is quite active on the ground. After the two other parties, Congress and Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) is clearly missing on the ground.
The caste arithmetic of UP is like this; where SP enjoys a solid vote base of Muslims and Yadav (MY). Since Muslims constitute over 19 per cent and Yadavs are around 10 per cent of UP’s total 25-crore population. While OBCs comprise 30 percent (excluding Yadavs) and upper castes stand at 20 percent and Dalit voters are about 21 percent in the state.
Akhilesh’s alliance strategy-
Akhilesh knows he enjoys an undivided Muslim vote base due to the weaker BSP this time. Its core Yadav voters will always be there with SP. So, he has been eyeing the bigger chunk of support from 31 percent OBC votes, which helped BJP gain power in 2017.
SP is trying its luck at pre-poll alliance third time in the state, by stitching alliances with small parties, after its sour experiences with biggies like Congress and BSP. SP has already tied up with Om Prakash Rajbhar’s Suheldev Bharatiya Samaj Party (SBSP) and also concluded final talks with Jayant Chaudhary-led Rashhtriya Lok Dal (RLD) though final seats are likely to be disclosed soon. He has also finalised an alliance with Apna Dal (Kamerawadi) party of Union minister Anupriya Patel’s mother Krishna Patel, and with Mahan Dal and Janwadi Socialist Party. However, one must not forget the fact that SP has still not tied up with Shivpal Yadav’s party (PSPL) which has dented SP’s prospect in the Yadavland in 2019 Lok Sabha polls. Another important point is in 2012 SP came to power by fighting alone while it suffered losses going into polls with an alliance in 2017 and 2019.