Suheldev Bhartiya Samaj Party (SBSP) president Om Prakash Rajbhar is trying to bring AIMIM supremo Asaduddin Owaisi and AAP chief Arvind Kejriwal together for the 2022 Uttar Pradesh assembly elections. Rajbhar is set to meet Kejriwal on July 17, to discuss the possible alliance, for which AAP has been reluctant so far. Rajbhar’s party is part of the Bhagidari Sankalp Morcha, which is a coalition of 8 small parties, and he is trying to bring AAP and AIMIM as a member of this rainbow coalition.
Previously, Rajbhar stated that if the coalition comes to power, there will be 5 different chief ministers in 5 years: one Muslim, one Rajbhar, one Chauhan, one Kushwaha, and one Patel and four deputy CMs in a year, and 20 in five years.
Rajbhar’s power-sharing agenda displays a sort of instability, although he states, “We are clear that everyone will be treated equally in the coalition.” He expressed confidence in Bhagidari Sanklalp Morcha’s ability to secure a comfortable victory in the UP polls.
This alliance can potentially spoil the chances of victory for Akhilesh Yadav led Samajwadi Party (SP) and Mayawati led Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) on many seats.
The entry of AIMIM and AAP in alliance with Rajbhar’s SBSP is a big blow to the electoral prospects of the SP as Muslim votes and Rajbhar (a community having significant numbers in Eastern Uttar Pradesh) votes will be divided. Rajbhars have traditionally voted for SP, moved to BJP in 2017, but a section is not happy with the BJP, and Om Prakash Rajbhar, their tallest leader, has a new party. SP was hoping to capitalize on the Rajbhar community’s dissatisfaction with BJP but not even their plans did not materialize.
Owaisi, who had previously spoiled the show for RJD led Mahagathbandhan in the Bihar assembly election in 2020, plans to do the same for SP in Uttar Pradesh. In the northern states, Owaisi is known to form alliances with small caste-based parties which helps him to win Muslim-dominated seats. In Uttar Pradesh, his party would cut a good number of Muslim votes, and this would have a direct impact on the vote shares of SP and BSP, respectively.
The rivals of BJP – SP & BSP – are already performing very poorly in Uttar Pradesh. In the recent Uttar Pradesh Panchayat elections, BJP scored a big victory over its nearest rival, Samajwadi Party. So far, the results of 17 Zila Panchayat Adhyaksha (District Council chairperson) have been declared and BJP has won all except one, Etawah – the family bastion for Akhilesh Yadav.
In Western Uttar Pradesh, where the party was supposed to lose given the intensity of the ongoing farmers’ protests in the region, BJP had won all seats. In fact, in many districts including Agra, Ghaziabad, Gautam Buddha Nagar, Amroha, and Meerut, BJP’s candidates have been elected unopposed.
This shows that despite all the media hullabaloo about BJP’s electoral prospects being harmed due to the farmers’ protests, it still looks to be the most popular party among the contestants. Except for protestors with unrelated ulterior motives, farmers do understand that the farm bills would free them from the tyranny of mandis and end up boosting agricultural income.
BJP proved invincible despite the manufactured dissent and protest. The entry of AIMIM supremo Owaisi and AAP makes things worse for SP and BSP because he would prove to be ‘vote katua’ especially on the seats where Muslim voters are in significant numbers.
As reported by TFI, according to an ABP-C Voter survey conducted in March earlier this year, if elections were to be held now, BJP would storm into power once again. The BJP is projected to win 289 seats in the 403-seat Uttar Pradesh Assembly. Meanwhile, SP is projected to be the second-largest party with 59 seats followed by BSP with 38 seats but not posing any real challenge to the BJP.
BJP can afford to let its guard down and go easy on the election preparations, but ‘ruthless’ seems to be the keyword passed along from the party high command. The preparations have begun and despite the weak situation of the opposition (especially the BSP), the BJP does not want to leave any loophole in its electoral preparedness. There are ample signs pointing towards Yogi’s storming back to power, however, the only clarity that remains to be seen, is the margin of victory.