Eyeing the certainty of a humiliating defeat in the 2022 assembly election, Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav has asked BSP and Congress to pick sides. “In partiyon (BSP–Congress) ko tay karna chahiye ki unki ladai BJP se hai ya Samajwadi Party se? (These parties should decide if they are fighting against the BJP or the SP)” Akhilesh Yadav said in a recent interview. On the issue of an alliance for the 2022 polls, he said: “We are open to tie-ups with all smaller parties. Some of these smaller parties are already with us, more will join us in the days to come.”
Akhilesh Yadav’s ‘request’ to main opposition parties, BSP and Congress, to decide whether they want to defeat ‘bigger enemy’ or fight with SP shows his lack of confidence in his party’s chances of victory. As long as the fight in the UP-assembly election is four-cornered, no party has any ‘realistic’ chance of defeating the BJP.
The only way to fight with BJP on equal terms for the opposition parties is to come together (just like all opposition parties come together against ABVP in JNU Students Union elections) and put a unified front. If SP, BSP, Congress, AIMIM, and the smaller parties come together, they will be able to counter Yogi Adityanath’s massive popularity with the alliance of certain religions and castes.
Therefore, Akhilesh Yadav is begging Priyanka Gandhi Vadra and Mayawati to join the forces with him.
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 of 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 won all the 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 the entire media hullabaloo about BJP’s electoral prospects being harmed due to the farmers’ protests, it is still the most popular party among the electorates. Except for the protestors with ulterior motives, farmers do understand that the farm bills would free them from the tyranny of ‘mandis’ and will end up boosting agricultural income.
BJP has proved itself to be invincible despite the manufactured dissent and protests. The entry of Owaisi only makes things worse for SP and BSP because he would prove to be a ‘vote cutter’ especially on the seats where Muslim voters are in significant numbers.
In the 2017 Assembly elections, BJP managed to receive a gigantic mandate by securing a 41.4 per cent vote share, which translated to the party winning 325 seats in a 403-member state assembly. No one had anticipated a massive Yogi Adityanath wave in the state and the opposition and detractors were left dumbfounded at the magnitude of the victory.
Fast forward four years and Yogi has become the tallest leader in the country. From developing UP into an industrial state to reducing crime to tackling the first and second wave of the coronavirus pandemic effectively, UP has grown strength to strength with Yogi at the helm.
Whatever chances the opposition parties had to defeat the BJP were killed by the entry of Owaisi in the election because it would raise the prospects of the incumbents and weaken the opposition because both the parties target the same voter base.