The upcoming Uttar Pradesh assembly election is the most important test for the BJP going towards the 2024 General election. Yogi Adityanath will be facing a tough challenge not only from Akhilesh Yadav’s Samajwadi Party but also from Mayawati’s Bahujan Samaj Party and up to to a extend from Congress also.
BJP is strong in most of the region of the Uttar Pradesh be it Purvanchal or Awadh or even Bundelkhand, but the biggest challenge for the ruling party particularly this year will be to capture the Western UP region. Due to the recent farmers agitation many are predicting the fall of UP in the entire state, but is it going to be too easy for the opposition to bring down a party with more than 320 seats or the last 5 years works would win against all the challenges.
The real threat for the BJP is the farmers protest going around the country. Farmers from Western Uttar Pradesh are also a part of these protests. Earlier this year many villages of Western UP like Bijnor, Shamli and Ghaziabad had started to show their anger against the BJP. They also put up banners in which they had expressed their agitation against BJP and its supporters.
But many BJP local leaders had said that the three farm laws are not the issue for this anger they said that In western UP, there are no APMC (agricultural produce marketing committee) mandis (marketplaces), only gud (jaggery) mandis. The farmers here are already intro contract farming for sugarcane as they enter into an agreement with sugar mills. Whatever the issue might be its going to play a huge role in the elections and this one problem remains to be unsolved.
Muslim Vote Bank
The population of Western Uttar Pradesh is composed of a varied set of communities and tribes, including Rajputs, Kayasthas, Tyagis, Ahirs, Brahmins, Valmikis, Gurjars, Jats, Jatav, Kurmis and Rohilla Pashtuns. Brahmins, including Tyagis, constitute 17% of the population. Together there are just over 72% Hindus, among them Brahmins and Rajputs have mostly voted for BJP but 26% Muslim population remains a challenge for the BJP.
The Muslim vote bank is considered to be secured vote bank mostly for the Samajwadi Party. Out of 77 seats in this assembly Muslim candidates won in 26 seats in 2012 elections. Apart from Muslim voters, Yadavs votes too have been consolidating behind Akhilesh Yadav.
Being a rural region western Uttar Pradesh had to face severe unemployment, and surge in covid crises though the government had given every possible medical assist but the testing have been patchy and slow. Many people died due to the crisis and even many lost their jobs which have led to difficulty in continuing their livelihoods.
The opposition parties including SP, BSP, INC have been targeting BJP over this issue for last few months. The rise of rural distress may lead to difficult situation for BJP in Western Uttar Pradesh. Despite BJP trying hard to convince them it may be difficult for them if the current issues are not taken care of.
The Uttar Pradesh election is just 8-9 months from now. BJP still has an edge in the state, however, if the situation does not improve then there might be a reason to worry for the ruling BJP government in the state.