There’s an age-old adage in the political circles of the country that no PM or party has reached the Parliament without winning Uttar Pradesh. The seven-phase UP assembly elections slated to be held next month is being dubbed as the semi-finals for the 2024 Lok Sabha elections and a big litmus test for the BJP. However, the desperate opposition looking to dethrone Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has been dealt an unfortunate news. It is being reported that CM Yogi may be gearing up to fight the upcoming elections from Ayodhya to send a bold message to the voters and opposition alike.
According to media reports, this proposal was floated and discussed at the high-level meeting held at the BJP headquarters in the national capital on Tuesday, attended among others by CM Yogi, UP Deputy CM Keshav Prasad Maurya, party state chief Swatantra Dev Singh and Home Minister Amit Shah. The final call regarding the decision will be taken soon by the top brass.
Meanwhile, Ayodhya MLA Ved Prakash Gupta on multiple occasions has already remarked that it will be his great fortune to leave the seat for CM Yogi.
Ayodhya — the nerve centre of UP politics
Picking Ayodhya as the potential seat for Yogi could prove to be a masterstroke. Ayodhya is the nerve centre of UP politics this time around ever since the construction of Ram mandir began in full swing.
When a Supreme Court judgment in 2019 paved the way for the construction of a grand temple at Lord Ram’s birthplace, it was mostly perceived as good news for crores of devotees who had been patiently waiting for the big day. But the construction of the Ram Mandir is not just about religion and spirituality.
It has also got to do a lot with local economics. And with the local economy improving, the Ram Mandir development is also bound to leave a strong impression on the legislative assembly polls. Especially for the Awadh region, Ram Mandir construction is a huge development.
In 2017, the BJP won big in Uttar Pradesh partly because it had also managed to win 116 out of 137 seats in the region. Yet, the region is known for its close contests and narrow margins. BJP does not want to take any chances and thus wants its biggest name to headline the show.
CM Yogi has been dropping ample hints of him fighting from Ayodhya as well. As reported by TFI last month, speaking during the final sitting of the UP Legislative Assembly, the CM remarked that the state only wants Ram Rajya, not communism or socialism.
The subtle hints from Yogi
CM Yogi said, “We have already said that this country neither needs communism or socialism. This country only wants Ram Rajya and Uttar Pradesh only wants Ram Rajya. Ram Rajya means the one which is everlasting, universal and eternal, not affected by circumstances,”
As reported previously by TFI, under the Shah formula, if Yogi indeed fights from Ayodhya, Deputy CMs Keshav Prasad Maurya and Dinesh Sharma will also take the plunge in the elections.
It is plausible that Maurya will contest from Sirathu seat of Kaushambi while Sharma will fight from one of the seats in Lucknow. Meanwhile, Jal Shakti Minister Mahendra Singh may contest from the Kunda seat of Pratapgarh.
BJP playing the long game
Moreover, BJP is playing the long game here. While the biggies will be contesting the assembly elections and most certainly winning, the MLC seats will fall vacant. These seats can then be filled by the next batch of BJP leaders, which could help the cadre in strengthening its core and eventually aid in passing important legislation and bills in the Vidhan Sabha.
Furthermore, given the pattern of anti-incumbency voting in Purvanchal, the party has activated all the big leaders in the region. BJP ministers, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi, have been frequently visiting the districts of Varanasi, Mirzapur, and Gorakhpur, to keep the party’s political base strong in the region.
In the 2017 elections, BJP had won 325 seats in a 403-member house. With Yogi’s image of a man of development as well as law & order already bringing the votes, his religious reach, owing to his love for Ayodhya will catapult him to a demigod status in the region. BJP expects this move to translate into another 300+ seat performance. Anything above and beyond will be a bonus and a sure shot death knell for the regional parties in SP and BSP.