NEW DELHI: Samajwadi Party (SP) chief Akhilesh Yadav talked about “correcting” the Uttar Pradesh poll arithmetic by aligning with Mayawati’s Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) but the exclusion of the Indian National Congress (INC) from the alliance seems to have saved the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) from a possible rout.
If results of the 2014 Lok Sabha elections are extrapolated in today’s emerging scenario, the BJP’s tally will shrink to only 20 seats, down from 71 out of 80, if it is pitched against the collective might of SP-BSP-INC. Even out of these 20 seats, the BJP has already lost Phulpur and Gorakhpur to SP-BSP-INC alliance in by-elections held in March 2018.
If locked in a triangular contest with the INC staying out of SP-BSP alliance, the BJP wins 38 seats, a loss of 33.
Among the seats where the BJP still appears to be strong include Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s constituency Varanasi. Kairana, Muzaffarnagar, Mathura, Agra, Lucknow, Kanpur, Bareilly and Deoria are other seats the BJP is likely to retain irrespective of any opposition alliance.
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After the alliance between SP and BSP, the entry of Priyanka Gandhi in politics as in charge of her party’s campaign in eastern Uttar Pradesh has increased the headache for the BJP.
Being presented as a Congress trump card, Priyanka Gandhi will not restrict herself to the family pocket boroughs of Amethi and Rae Bareli but lead the campaign in the entire Purvanchal (eastern) belt comprising 24 districts from Amethi to Varanasi.
The Congress has declared its intent to take on the BJP in the state by also fielding Jyotiraditya Sinha, who is fresh from the poll victory in Madhya Pradesh, as in-charge of western Uttar Pradesh.
Akhilesh Yadav had allied with the Congress in the last Assembly elections but the move turned out to be disastrous for both the parties as the BJP swept the polls.
Priyanka Gandhi’s entry at this stage can once again change the electoral arithmetic of this most populous state in the country which sends the maximum member to India’s lower house.