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‘UP Ke Ladke’ Works For INDIA, Ram Temple Doesn’t For BJP: Trends

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Four hours into the counting of votes for the Lok Sabha polls, one thing was clear — the BJP’s Uttar Pradesh dominance faced a tough challenge from the INDIA bloc. At noon, the INDIA alliance of Samajwadi Party and Congress was leading on 42 out of 80 Lok Sabha seats — five more than the NDA tally of 37.

In the 2014 and 2019 elections, the BJP scooped up 71 and 62 seats. Exit polls predicted a repeat of the trend this time, but the trends so far hold true to the warning – exit polls don’t always get it right. Several rounds of counting are still left and the picture may change anytime.

Here’s a look at key factors behind the BJP’s big setback in Uttar Pradesh

Did Ram Mandir Help BJP?

Among the biggest talking points in this election was the construction of the grand Ram temple in Ayodhya, a BJP poll promise since the 1980s, which BJP supporters claimed would be the decisive factor in the Lok Sabha election results.

But trends show that Ayodhya failed to assert itself as the key factor even in Faizabad, the constituency it is part of. According to Election Commission data, the Samajwadi Party’s Awadesh Prasad is leading by over 4,000 votes against BJP’s Lallu Singh. If we look at the neighbouring constituencies, the BJP is leading on two of the seven constituencies bordering Faizabad — Gonda and Kaiserganj. Out of the five others, Congress leads in two — Amethi and Barabanki — and SP in three — Sultanpur, Ambednagar and Basti.

“UP Ke Ladke” Clicks This Time

Akhilesh Yadav and Rahul Gandhi were last seen campaigning together in the run-up to the 2017 Uttar Pradesh polls, but when the results came, the BJP had a whopping 302 seats and the Congress-SP alliance managed just 47. Seven years later, the two leaders, both more mature politically, were seen together again when they came together under the INDIA alliance for the big Lok Sabha fight. If the current trends hold, the two may have changed the picture this time. The INDIA bloc is currently leading on 42 of the state’s 80 seats — five more than the NDA — in Uttar Pradesh.

No Mayawati Factor

The Mayawati-led Bahujan Samaj Party is known to spring surprises. In the 2014 Lok Sabha polls, BSP had scored a blank in Uttar Pradesh, but came back strongly to win 10 seats in the 2019 election. In the last election, it had tied up with Samajwadi Party, but this time it fought solo while her former ally joined ranks with the Congress.

In the trends so far, the BSP seems headed for a rout. Four hours into the counting, it is not even leading on any seat, according to Election Commission data. This is not good news for Mayawati. Also significant are the trends from Nagina seat, where emerging Dalit leader Chandrashekhar Azad is leading the fight and the BSP is in the fourth spot. A victory for Azad and a big loss for BSP in an SC-reserved seat virtually that Mayawati’s loyal Dalit voter base has now found new leaders.

 Four hours into the counting of votes for the Lok Sabha polls, one thing is clear — the BJP’s Uttar Pradesh dominance faces a tough challenge from INDIA bloc.    

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