By Arti Bali (Senior Journalist)
Wining Uttar Pradesh assembly elections in 2017 is a prestige issue for Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Amit Shah as it will strengthen BJP government at the centre after a debacle in Bihar which shows that Modi face is not needed in state polls. Even in Assam polls, BJP won because of the local leaders which formed an alliance with BJP to form government.
Modi -Amit is treading on its age-old tactic of Hindu mobilisation for the Uttar pradesh polls, a semi final for 2019 lok sabha polls and the biggest interesting battle In the Lok Sabha poll of 2014, the party won as many as 71 of the 80 seats in the state and this time taking no chances and therefore trying to be soft on Hindutva because if UP battle is not won, the legitimacy of the Modi regime will be questioned during the rest of the tenure. And Congress which is gaining in all the elections local, panchayat and even state elections, has the potential to come back with more force
Modi is so desperate to win UP Polls that Prime Minister made a trip to Saudi Arabia, Qatar and even considering to have simultaneous Lok Sabha and assembly elections of all states so as to remove the election sword hanging over his head for the entire 5 year tenure.
Uttar Pradesh elections is a tough battle where many strong parties like Congress, SP,BSP with strong bases are participating while several other parties will act as a spoiler .Muslims, accounting for 18-19 per cent of the state population, have influence in 73 seats.
Meanwhile,Congress veteran Ghulam Nabi Azad has been appointed general secretary incharge of Uttar Pradesh.Azad, 67, is a Gandhi family loyalist and a former Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir. Congress has roped in poll strategist Prashant Kishor, who successfully managed Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Lok Sabha campaign in 2014 and Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar’s last year, to aid and assist the party’s UP and Haryana units.
Aware of the fact that no party can win the Uttar Pradesh Polls without the Muslim votebank,the Modi government is planning to was off its deeds of polarising the country to the disadvantage of the Muslim community. The BJP has come out with a novel strategy of endearing the minorities by proposing to introduce an anti discriminatory clause in real estate Act that would ensure against any bias towards religion,diet and sexual orientation.
The decades old party BJP and its ideologue RSS cannot under any stretch of imagination endear the minority community against whom they have committed extreme atrocities, murdered and even compelled them to leave their villages where they even refused to come back. Modi government has created conditions where Muslims find it almost impossible to get employment and are being targeted as terrorists even on suspicion.
Modi government main plank is to attract upper castes votes for which it has already taken steps by unofficially floating the name of Rajnath Singh as chief ministerial candidate and by considering to nominate Murli Manohar Joshi as the President of India. Amit Shah strategy is to focus on other SC and OBC sub-castes which constitute nearly 60 per cent of the vote bank and for that BJP President had a lunch with Dalit family. To woo dalits and dent the BSP’s core vote bank, the BJP has already promised to build a Buddha statute taller than the ones that once stood in Bamiyan, Afghanistan.But the survey predicts that it is impossible for BJP to conquer BSP’s Mayawati vote bank.About ten per cent of the population, often concentrated in particular regions, it is the Brahmins who Mayawati wooed in 2007.
Moreover, Modi has no control over RSS, right wing leaders who openly pronounce for Muslim Mukt Bharat and terms construction of Ram Temple as thjeir agenda included in their election manifesto. Amit Shah said “The BJP has never agreed with whatever Sadhvi Prachi has said. We do not endorse Sanjeev Balyan’s remarks on Dadri controversy. Our agenda is to build Ram Temple as it is included in the election manifesto and we will fight UP Polls only on development.” Besides Christian community and Dalit votes who have been harassed in two years of Modi rule are fully aware that if by chance BJP happens to win the UP polls then it will revert back to torture with more force against the minorities and the lower castes.
Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh had recently said that his party would fight next year’s assembly polls in Uttar Pradesh on the issue of development.On the contrary ,Singh said the issue of construction of Ram temple in Ayodhya is an important “cultural issue” and not political.
Modi government has devised a strategy to win the Uttar Pradesh elections by repeating the 2014 Lok Sabha polls strategy. Under this plan, Modi, the star campaigner will campaign aggressively and amit Shah as well and divided UP into six regionsModi — Kashi, Kanpur-Bundelkhand, Gorakhpur, Awadh, Braj and Paschim. Shah as asked party workers to go to every nook and corner of every village to showcase 2 years of Modi government achievements. Shah will address party workers in each region. There are almost 200 seats which the BJP has not won in the last three state elections.
BJP has lost miserably in South and West Bengal elections and there are chances that Modi’s tactic may fail in Utttar pradesh as Prime minister has called for new ideas but he fails to understand elections are not won and country is not ruled by tactics or cheap politics but by working for the united country.
After all Narendra Modi proved himself to be a politician but not a leader who works for a united and a secular country .