Because of its 80 Lok Sabha seats, UP is important for any party seeking to form government at the centre. Here’s a breakdown of how the state’s importance will only increase in the coming elections, starting with the much-awaited Assembly Elections in 2022. After all, this state has been giving Prime Ministers and national-level leaders at quite a steady rate.
Rise of the BJP in 1990s at the national level mirrors the rise of the party in Uttar Pradesh. Similarly, the decline of it started in UP around 1999. Further, the BJP lost UP assembly elections in 2002, and as a result lost its grip on the national politics for nearly one decade. We know what happened in 2004 and 2009 Lok Sabha elections.
In chess, once the Queen is down then it’s immaterial how many bishops you are left with. In the same way, if your star campaigners like Narendra Modi and Yogi Adityanath are not well supported then the road to reclaim the throne would be full of thorns.
Traditionally, life-altering ideas have mostly been originating in big cities, capitals and universities. At this time, BJP is not in power in states like Maharashtra (Mumbai), West Bengal (Kolkata), Tamil Nadu (Chennai), Delhi and Telangana ( Hyderabad). These are the places to accommodate the winds of change before others.
BJP has a grip on Bangaluru but it is also witnessing some economic wheeling.
Considering these facts, UP becomes even more important. This is the state with highest budget in the country, which also extends its boundary till Delhi, the seat of eternal power.
After independence, Congress lost power in centre for the first time in 1977. In that election, Congress got zero seat out of 85 Lok Sabha seats in UP. Janta Party did a clean sweep.
Since mid-90s, regional parties became quite powerful in certain areas. Since 1990, nothing has impacted Indian politics more than Mandal and Kamandal. UP was the home for both.
After a long time, BJP came up with the formula of cultural nationalism to counter the spread of regional parties. It took back the politics to national parties. It also beat the Congress, which depended on coalition to remain in the centre. It had to be done if the politics was to become nation-oriented. Congress and its alliances couldn’t have come out of the grip of regional satraps because of their allegiances.
The time was ripe for the tired voters to select new rulers, but that was almost two and a half years ago, and four years in terms of Uttar Pradesh’s government. A lot has changed since then.
Will the BJP be able to set a new narrative one more time in UP? Because if that doesn’t happen then this might turn out to be the Battle of Waterloo for the BJP.
(The author is a political analyst and motivational speaker. The ideas expressed in the article are writer’s personal opinion.)