From the family war in the Samajwadi Party, to wooing of Muslims voters by Mayawati's Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), to Congress' last minute piggyback on SP to have some credibility, to Prime Minister Narendra Modi's marathon campaigning in Varanasi, the Uttar Pradesh Assembly Election had all the right ingredients to spice up the state politics. Despite the myriad web of permutation and combinations by the poll pundits in the form of opinion and exit polls, it was BJP's lotus that proved all the math wrong with an incredibly convincing margin to achieve the majority mark.
Uttar Pradesh, where the sheer size and diversity of the electorate have delivered a hung mandate in the past, scored a hat-trick this time by surprising everyone and electing BJP with an outright majority.
|BJP+||SP + Congress||BSP||Others|
|2012 results||48||224 (SP) 28 (Congress)||81||23|
Riding on the Modi wave, the BJP trounced rivals SP-Congress and BSP in the Uttar Pradesh Assembly polls, getting two-thirds majority in the 403-seat Assembly.
The BJP bagged 312 seats while its allies Apna Dal and SBSP won nine and four seats each respectively. SP, on the other hand, won 47 seats and its ally Congress got only seven seats. The BSP, however, finished last with 19 seats on the tally -- it's worst-ever performance in it's home turf.
The victory left the ruling SP and its ally Congress punctured with just 55 seats while the BSP was left with 19 seats. While Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav promptly resigned, BSP leader Mayawati attributed the rout to the Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) which she said were manipulated.
Accepting defeat, Akhilesh said, "I hope the next government will work better than the SP government." Akhilesh, who is also the party president, added at a press conference, "I accept the verdict of the people, I will do analysis at booth-level." He, however, refused to blame his alliance with the Congress for the loss. He also added that the alliance will continue, claiming to have "benefited" by it. Asked to comment on Mayawati's allegation about tampering of EVMs, Akhilesh said, "If questions have been raised on EVMs, the government should probe it."
Earlier, a fuming Mayawati alleged that EVMs had been tampered with in such a way that whichever button was pressed, the vote went to BJP. She argued that there was no way that the Muslim majority regions would vote for the BJP but the results were clearly in contrast.
Terming the results as "shocking", she said the Election Commission should stop the counting and withhold the results and hold fresh polls using traditional paper ballots.
Meanwhile, an euphoric BJP called it's clean sweep a "historic" verdict that would make a major impact on Indian politics even as the Congress admitted it was stunned by the scale of the verdict in favour of Narendra Modi.
BJP national president Amit Shah said that the results proved that the UP voters had moved over the Hindu-Muslim agenda and they clearly voted for a progressive government.
"The historic mandate given to the BJP will give a new direction to Indian politics. It will end the politics of caste, dynasty (parivarvaad) and appeasement," Shah said. The BJP, he added, would form governments in Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Goa and Manipur.
From being the third largest group in the 403-member Uttar Pradesh assembly, the BJP, powered by an aggressive campaign spearheaded by Modi, catapulted to winning a whopping 324 seats — a never-before showing by any party in the country's most populous state.
A history of UP Assembly: A state that has known instability only too well
Uttar Pradesh is not a stranger to hung assemblies. The biggest state in the country with over 22 crore population has seen it all — from long spells of President's Rule, fractured mandate, mass defections, mid-term elections and withdrawal of support — in not so distant past.
Till Mayawati romped home riding on her social engineering formula in 2007 with her BSP getting a clear mandate, the state has experienced frequent bouts of political instability. The state was placed under President's Rule 10 times, the last time being in 2002. Uttar Pradesh has also witnessed strange bedfellows in the BJP and the BSP coming together in an even stranger coalition of rotating chief ministership for a six-month period, which proved to be a flop in the late 90s.
Of the 16 assemblies elected since 1952, a single party got the majority and completed full five-year term only seven times. On nine occasions, the state got governments, which lasted for a period as less as four months.
The instability has also led to mid-term elections for seeking a fresh mandate as many as seven times, the last being in 1998. Considered a favourite hunting ground for the Congress in the initial years after Independence with stalwarts from the state leading national and state politics for long years, UP became the first state in the country to get a non-Congress government.
Way back in 1967, Charan Singh and his socialist colleagues had left the Congress to form the Bharatiya Kranti Dal and formed the government.
Despite the Emergency, Congress rule was fragmented in the 1970s repeatedly by chief ministers who were either removed or had revolted before quitting.
The Congress leaders of Hemwati Nandan Bahuguna's ilk left the party during the Emergency, paving way for President's Rule. Another Congress doyen Kamlapati Tripathi had to quit on the issue of Provincial Armed Constabulary (PAC) revolt in the 70s.
Congress took over the reins in 1980 after the Janata Party's brief spell in power from 1977 to 1980, with leaders of the stature of VP Singh and ND Tiwari at the helm. But political instability continued to dog the state and the Janata Dal won in 1989.
It was the advent of casteist and communal politics in the wake of the Mandal Commission and Ayodhya movement which saw political turmoil at its peak and violence in the seat of power in the Vidhan Sabha.
It was a period of splits, mass defections, hung house, President's Rule, mid-term elections and ruling parties flipping chief ministers to quell dissent. This period saw almost all major parties somehow managing to taste fruits of power, even if for brief spells, while Congress' popularity started waning.
The new non-Congress leadership of Mulayam Singh Yadav, Kalyan Singh, Mayawati and Rajnath Singh among others emerged in the state and they gradually carved out a niche at the national level. Mayawati's victory in 2007 came not just as a surprise for all those who had got used to political instability in the state but also political pundits who had predicted fractured mandate.
Again in 2012, the emergence of young leadership of Samajwadi Party's Akhilesh Yadav was equally surprising but indicated the desire of the electorate for a stable government.
The pollsters got it wrong once again
Meanwhile, most exit polls that predicted a hung Uttar Pradesh assembly were proven wrong on Saturday with the BJP bagging 312 seats on its own in the 403-member UP house.
Six pollsters had decisively predicted BJP in the lead while only two of them saw the saffron party sweeping the state with a clear majority. Nobody got even close to the actual numbers that the BJP managed to sweep. Times-Now VMR thought it was a close call between a hung assembly or a straight up BJP win. BSP, throughout pollsters surveys, was up for a huge disappointment as it trailed at a distant third position, which was one thing the pollsters got right, but even they didn't predict a meagre 19-seat score for Mayawati's party.
Here is what the pollsters predicted:
|Exit Poll Results (403 seats total)||BJP||SP-Congress||BSP||Others|
|India Today-Axis My India||251-279||88-112||28-42||6-16|
Caste colours UP electorate mandate
Small is big when it comes to electoral politics in caste-ridden Uttar Pradesh where even a minuscule sub-caste becomes a force to reckon with and lesser known political parties representing them seem to be reaping the benefit. And the BJP national president gauged the swing these dynamics hold and the results are in front of us in the form of sweet victory for the saffron party.
OBCs are roughly 44 percent of UP's electorate, Dalits 21 percent, Muslims 19 percent, and upper castes 16 percent. Yadavs, the core of the SP's base, are numerically and socially dominant among OBCs. But the 200-odd non-Yadav OBCs together account for over double the Yadav population. They include Kurmis, Koeris, Lodhs, Jats, and Sunars, while Pasis and Valmikis are the large groups among Dalits. It takes a well worked out augmentation of these groups to win the UP throne.
Back in 2012
In 2012 state elections, riding on the anti-incumbency wave against Mayawati, the Samajwadi Party dished out a scintillating win grabbing 224 seats in the 404 seat Assembly. It proved the exit poll results wrong which predicted a SP lead but projected a hung Assembly for the state. The decisive mandate gave SP 224 seats, much more than the 202 needed. The incumbent BSP, which was battling several charges of corruption against its ministers, was relegated to the position of the main Opposition party in the Legislative Assembly with 80 seats, while BJP trailed at the third position with 47 seats and the Congress-Rashtriya Lok Dal alliance got 37 seats.
With inputs from agencies
Published Date: Mar 12, 2017 01:12 pm | Updated Date: Mar 12, 2017 01:12 pm