Last week BJP experienced a major setback in two bypoll elections held in U.P. BJP’s defeat in the UP by-polls for both the seats of Gorakhpur & Phulpur alarmed and cautioned BJP of its open challenges ahead. The most eye-catching fact is that after 29 years of ruling in Gorakhpur constituency BJP lost on its home ground. Also, Gorakhpur was Chief Minister Aditya Yoginath’s home ground where he lost for the very first time. Similarly, the deputy C.M Keshav Prasad Maurya had a grip on Phulpur seat where he faced disappointment. Let’s look in detail why BJP lost UP bypolls 2018.
The major reason behind this loss is considered to be the coalition between the two major rival parties of U.P that is BSP & SP but is it the only reason behind BJP’s loss? Will it impact 2019 elections in any way? What should be BJP’s next move to sustain in U.P?and what are the possibilities of a coalition government in U.P for 2019 elections? Let’s find out some of the answers.
Results of UP bypolls 2018 –
The bypoll results of U.P brought major humiliation for BJP government as they lost both of their home ground seats. The key contenders for Gorakhpur were Upendra Shukla (BJP), Praveen Nishad (SP) and Sureetha Kareem (Congress). Nishad of Samajwadi Party won the coveted seat by 21,881 votes. For Phulpur, candidates in the fray included Kaushalendra Singh Patel (BJP), Nagendra Pratap Singh Patel (SP) and Manish Mishra from Congress. Nagendra Pratap Patel of Samajwadi Party won the seat by 59,613 votes.The BSP and the SP set aside their rivalry to join forces for the by-elections.
Read more: Can BJP Win Karnataka Elections 2018?
The chief minister took all the blame on himself & said –
“When the candidates were declared, the SP, BSP and Congress were not together…they had not joined hands then. But suddenly in the middle of the election, the SP and the BSP forged an electoral understanding,” he told the media from his residence. “The over-confidence and inability to understand the electoral understanding between the SP and the BSP led to the defeat”.
It was least expected that BSP and SP, the main rival parties of U.P will stand together to defeat BJP but that was the ground which BJP missed and is now facing its consequences.
One year of Yogi Government – How did it perform and what might be the reason for BJP’s defeat in the UP bypolls 2018?
In its first year in U.P, the yogi government worked vigorously and launched many schemes. Be it anti-Romeo squad or closing of illegal slaughterhouses, the yogi government left no stone unturned in U.P even after facing criticism from left parties. Yogi continued the series of changes in U.P. Some of the schemes which were really a good move towards development of U.P were,
1.Mukhyamantri free laptop scheme:
Under this scheme, all the 12th standard students graduating from U.P will be given a free laptop (only if they continue their further studies & that too in U.P).
2.Mukhyamantri Annapurna Bhojnalay scheme:
The government aims to provide breakfast, lunch and dinner in rupees 3,5,5 respectively. The scheme will have PPP(public-private-partnership) model.
3. 60,000 LED streetlights in Ghaziabad:
The government aims to install 60,000 LED streetlights to make Ghaziabad safe for women. It is a revised version of the previous government’s streetlight scheme.
4.Bhagya Laxmi Yojna:
Under this scheme, the government will provide financial aid to girls of U.P, not like a financial or direct cash benefit but through bonds up to 50,000 rupees which will be given to them from time to time.
5. Surya Mitra Yojna employment via UPNEDA :
Under this scheme, the government aims to provide employment to 25,000 educated, unemployed youth of U.P. These government jobs will be given under UPNEDA (Uttar Pradesh New & Renewable Energy Development Agency).
6. Ujala (Unnat Jeevan by Affordable LEDs & Appliances) scheme:
Through this scheme government will distribute LED products at half the price of its market value. Though most of the schemes are on paper, the opposition claims that it will remain on paper under BJP government.
If Yogi government was so active in the state, bringing these many welfare schemes in the first year then what went wrong for them? Why did BJP lose the UP bypolls 2018?
What went wrong for the party which resulted in BJP’s defeat in the UP by-polls 2018?
Although BJP is working in U.P vigorously there were a series of mishappenings which led to the demise of BJP in bypolls 2018. Some of them are:
1. Taken opposition for granted:
Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath whose hometown Gorakhpur went to the Samajwadi Party in a staggering upset for the ruling BJP in bypolls, blamed their “overconfidence” and conceded that his party underestimated the potency of an Akhilesh-Mayawati combo.
2. Gorakhpur deaths:
Gorakhpur child deaths could have gone against Yogi government. During his election campaign, Akhilesh Yadav touched upon last year’s deaths in the BRD Medical College and announced that a fresh inquiry will be conducted into the matter when SP returns to power after 2022 Assembly elections. Akhilesh claimed that the children had died due to a shortage of oxygen supply. This recent incident in August had grabbed national attention after reports appeared that the hospital faced a shortage of oxygen supply at the time. The state government however had denied the claim and action was taken against the then college principal, in-charge of the particular ward as well as other but Akhilesh kept this issue alive throughout his campaign which marked the major flaw of the Yogi government.
3. Outsider candidate:
Phulpur candidate an ‘outsider’ Kaushalendra Singh Patel, nominated from Phulpur, wasn’t even ready for the election as he was overseeing election management in Gorakhpur.
4. Grand alliance of BSP &SP:
It was after 23 years that archrivals Samajwadi Party and the Bahujan Samaj Party reached an electoral understanding, which seems to have got the people’s approval. Although Yogi Adityanath has called it sheer opportunism, it cannot be ruled out that the new combine may lead to major changes in UP’s political scenario and may also prove to be a game-changer ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.
5. Dalit card by Mayawati:
A dedicated vote bank of Dalits ensures that Mayawati is capable of transferring votes seamlessly to its alliance partner. It doesn’t matter who she is supporting and in this election again she has shown how her supporters have voted for the Samajwadi Party.
6. Communal deaths:
Recently U.P witnessed the Kasganj episode where Chandan Gupta died and violence erupted between the majority and minority communities. Not only that but UP witnessed a series of mob lynching by fringe groups which could be another reason behind the loss of BJP, ‘the Hindutva/saffron parties’.
Future prospects in light of BJP’s defeat in the UP by-polls
In the last Lok Sabha elections, the BJP managed to win 71 of 80 seats on its own in UP (ally Apna Dal also won the two seats where it was contesting, increasing the saffron party’s tally to 73) with around 43% of vote share. This was dubbed as a tsunami because the Opposition was fragmented but if the BSP (with a 19.77 percent vote share), SP (with 22.35 percent) and the Congress (with 7.53 percent) fought the elections together, their vote share would have been 49.65 percent. This shows that an opposition which is united could have stopped the Modi wave even in 2014 in Uttar Pradesh.
This clearly indicates that oppositions have joined hands to break the saffron wave. If BJP wants to sustain its other seats they have to counter this grand alliance or have to find an alliance for themselves. About the speculations of BSP and SP joining hands for 2019 elections, nothing is official yet as Akhilesh and Mayawati both refrained from answering on prospects of a grand alliance in 2019 as well but this bypoll results clearly showcased that now the opposition is ready to do whatever it takes to stop the ‘saffron chariot’.
What is party’s outlook on BJP’s defeat in the UP by-polls?
Winning Gorakhpur was a matter of prestige for the BJP as it has been a bastion of chief minister Yogi Adityanath, who has won from that seat for five consecutive times. Yogi Adityanath had secured over 50 per cent vote share in the last three elections. Over a dozen of state ministers, two union ministers and several party MPs and MLAs were deployed by the BJP for canvassing in the two constituencies and yet it lost the two seats. Even though BJP lost the bypolls they are still having a positive outlook towards 2019 elections and ensure to continue the saffron wave.