Uttar Pradesh is the largest state in terms of population. In this state, Akhilesh Yadav was the first man to be able to complete a full tenure of 5 years (Mayawati was the first woman). This year, however, lost. BJP has won with a thumping majority, as good as their Lok Sabha performance. Here are 10 factors, what I feel, which must have contributed to such a decisive victory.
Hon’ble Prime Minister of India:
Nothing can dispute the hard work of PM Narendra Modi. He is a fine blend of hard work, dedication, and fearlessness. It is the effort of PM Modi that resulted in the improvement in the party’s image. There was also a massive surge in the party’s vote bank in the last few years. More than that, since Modi became PM, the value of Brand India has improved globally. That being said, the Modi Wave is far from over. This factor played a major role in Uttar Pradesh.
Hitting in the Right Areas:
The BJP Manifesto was exactly what the State needed currently. Whether it was Ram Mandir for Hindu men, Equality for Muslim women, or inclusive development for all – every section of the society were targeted simultaneously in their manifesto. It was a development based manifesto and the party had kept its agendas clear. Innovations like Anti Romeo Squad were a big attraction among the masses. Electricity to villages, Agriculture Loan Waivals, etc. helped the party gain a lot of votes in rural areas.
Dedicated Team of Karyakartas:
Unlike other parties, several people support and work for BJP without any expectations and aspirations. The BJP fought (and won) the 2014 General Elections on the strength of these workers. Even in UP, they banked on these workers. These unsung who work at the ground level, are the real heroes of the victory of Uttar Pradesh.
No Caste Based Campaigning:
Uttar Pradesh politics has always been about caste. SP thrives on the Yadav community’s votes. BSP has managed to survive on Dalit politics alone. This time, Congress tried this trick by initially promoting Shiela Dixit to woo Brahmins. While these parties were strongly trying to secure/retain their “traditional vote bank”, BJP continued to target the masses, regardless of caste. This paid off in the end.
No Religious Polarisation:
Religion is a sensitive and important issue in UP. The land of a thousand pilgrimages has often seen a lot of tussles between communities. A Jat father-son duo was attacked on their way back from a Modi rally at Bijnor on 10th February. The son did not survive. However, Akhilesh government took no action. They did not want to displease the minority community during elections. Usually, politicians use deaths like scavengers – Mohammed Akhlaq, Ram Kishen Grewal, Rohith Vemula – you name it! BJP, however, did not make it an election issue to gain extra votes. PM Modi had already set an agenda and BJP stuck to it.
No Socialist Style Appeasement:
During the voting of the First Phase, Rahul Gandhi and Akhilesh Yadav called a press conference and announced a flurry of freebies, including laptops, mobile phones, etc. They were targeting the youth vote bank, triggering their politics of appeasement. BJP did not succumb to this temptation and continued to campaign on their agenda of development, Law and Order, etc tailor-made for the needs of Uttar Pradesh.
No CM Candidate:
BJP’s campaign has remained versatile as per the need of the hour. The 2014 General Elections was all about Modi; so much so that every seat’s campaign was Modified. BJP lost Bihar because of lack of unity among the party workers and leaders. They learned their lesson quickly. Like most other states, BJP did not go to these elections with a fixed Candidate in Uttar Pradesh either; as doing so would have displeased some aspirants. This would invariably result in fragmentation of the state unit and they would not be able to work as a cohesive team.
Pure Internal Democracy within Party:
Uttar Pradesh is the home to dynasty politics. When people vacate their seats, their kinsmen take over. Indira Gandhi passed the Amethi seat to Sanjay, then to Sonia. It is Rahul’s turf now. Even the PM’s throne was handed over to Rajiv Gandhi on a silver platter in 1984.
On the contrary, BJP stalwart Shyam Deo Rai Choudhary has been sitting on the Varanasi (South) seat since 1989, winning it 7 times in a row. However, he showed unprecedented sacrifice by stepping down and making way for another candidate, Dr Neelkanth Tripathi. PM Modi himself acknowledged this with a heartwarming gesture during his visit to Kashi Vishwanath Temple in Varanasi.
Influence of the Social Media:
Today, the Social Media, which has quickly become the fifth pillar of democracy, is quickly replacing a crumbling fourth pillar (the mainstream media). PM Modi realised this very early and has been active on it since time immemorial. Like ground karyakartas, BJP has supporters on social media too. They remain dedicated and work for the party, supporting it without any expectation or aspiration. This is one of the factors contributing to the party’s win in Urban Uttar Pradesh and will probably continue to do so pan India, and globally.
Anti-Incumbency in Uttar Pradesh:
Within a few hours of coming to power, the Akhilesh Yadav government released the dreaded Raghuraj Pratap Singh from Pratapgarh. Elsewhere in Deoria, a Samajwadi Party MP, with his supporters, rode on horsebacks, firing in the air with their rifles. People were fed up of and terrorised by this Samajwadi lawlessness. The BJP used it to its advantage by promising law and order, strong governance, and above all, inclusive development.