An opinion poll undertaken in Uttar Pradesh, which revealed that Narendra Modi led Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is likely to be beaten by Bahujan Samaj Party’s (BSP) with its supremo Mayawati likely to be appointed as the new chief minister of this vast state, has revealed another big setback for a pet BJP mission, which is to wipe the Congress out totally from India. The next assembly elections will be held some 6 months from now. However, BJP is going to emerge as the largest party in the state at 170-183 seats to BSP’s 115-124 seats and Mulayam Singh Yadav’s Samajwadi Party (SP) getting just between 94-103 – Congress may get 8-12 seats. However, even though Rahul Gandhi and even his sister Priyanka Gandhi are nowhere near the top of any list in terms of being vote magnates, yet respondents to this poll have rejected giving BJP support of working towards a Congress mukt Bharat.
That must have come as a big relief to the Congress, which has seen its stature as the top-most political party since Independence and before that as the pre-eminent force in the freedom struggle against the British, diminish to just single-digit numbers in the Uttar Pradesh Assembly. Yes, it ruled at the Centre for 10 years in the recent past, but since Narendra Modi muscled it out, it has been mostly downhill in elections for the grand old party, except in Karnataka.
The BJP had voiced the intent to get rid of the Congress from India as far back as before the general elections of 2014 and really acquired momentum when Amit Shah replaced Rajnath Singh as the President of the party. In fact, it was Narendra Modi who had actually started using the phrase first and famously ran away with the general elections to become the Prime Minister of India, ousting Manmohan Singh. In Uttar Pradesh during the general elections, while Congress won just 2 seats, those of Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi, the BJP won 71/80 – that also puts in perspective about where the other parties like Samajwadi Party and Bahujan Samaj Party stood post-poll.
Be that as it may, the respondents to the poll held in Uttar Pradesh, when asked about the Congress mukt Bharat mission of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), responded against it. As many as 54 per cent rejected the BJP’s intent to rid India of Congress forever, to literally wipe it out of existence. As many as 17 per cent of the people who responded were fence sitters and did not really know either way what they would like to see happen. Those who gave a thumbs up to the BJP were 29 per cent – this is still a very large number and shows Congress really in poor light for not being able to cater to the aspirations of such a large class of people. The chasm between Congress and the people has widened tremendously and it is not looking like lessening despite the fact that Rahul Gandhi has been touring the state and visiting large tracts of it meeting people from all walks of life and addressing well-attended rallies.