Donning a psephologist's hat, Amit Shah exuded confidence that the BJP and its allies will perform better than in 2014 in Uttar Pradesh.
With less than a year to go for the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, BJP has started taking the political math more seriously than ever! This was evident in its chief Amit Shah’s assertion that the Bharatiya Janata Party would maintain its numbers in Uttar Pradesh even if Maywati’s Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and Samajwadi Party (SP) come together in the general elections due next year. He also attacked the opposition parties on their efforts to forge unity and said: “Today the entire opposition is hell bent upon spreading the rumour about impact on the poll equation in UP if the SP and the BSP come together.”
Donning a psephologist’s hat, Shah exuded confidence that the BJP and its allies will perform better than in 2014 when the saffron party bagged 71 of the 80 Lok Sabha seats in the state and two went to ally Apna Dal, taking the NDA tally to 73. “Even if Bua (BSP chief Mayawati), bhatija (SP chief Akhilesh Yadav) and Rahul join hands, our tally of seats (in Lok Sabha from UP) will be 74 instead of 73 now and will not be 72,” he said.
This assumes significance as the image of united opposition during H D Kumaraswamy’s swearing-in ceremony as Karnataka Chief Minister and susequent no-confidence motion in Lok Sabha has given strong hints that opposition is rally together to stop Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2019. While parties are yet to decide their Prime Ministerial candidate, the results of Gorakhpur, Phulpur and Karnataka have shown that a common goal can get priority over individual aspirations.
In Gorakhpur and Phulpur, BSP extended support to its arch-rival SP and the electoral alliance managed to upset the BJP’s applecart in the politically crucial state at seats which are considered strongholds of the saffron party. While Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath termed the defeat as an “unprecedented verdict”, Deputy CM Keshav Prasad Maurya “admitted” that the party could not “estimate that together with BSP support SP candidates would be able to win so many votes.” Then came Kairana Lok Sabha bypolls, where the Congress, the Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) joined hands with SP and BSP and again upset BJP.
Notwithstanding Shah’s asertion, these numbers are interesting and perhaps have set a tone for a plausible opposition alliance in 2019. While electorates will have the final saying but these numbers may have pivotal impact on the outcome.