BJP vs SP in UP Polls: Will Alliance With Smaller Parties Be a Key to Success?

With BJP, there is Apna Dal (S) and Nishad Party and with SP there are parties like RLD, SBSP & Apna Dal (K).

6 min read
Hindi Female

Ahead of the Uttar Pradesh (UP) Assembly elections, many alliances have been forged while others are switching sides. Recently, Bhim Army leader Chandrashekhar Azad completed talks with the Samajwadi Party (SP) but no agreement could be reached.

SP's Akhilesh Yadav has included many small parties in the alliance with him. One of these parties is OP Rajbhar's Suheldev Bharatiya Samaj Party (SBSP), which contested the 2017 elections in alliance with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

The BJP has also formed an alliance with smaller parties in a bid to win the upcoming elections. However, the question remains: Why are the SP, which won an absolute majority on its own in 2012, and the BJP, which won more seats than a separate alliance in 2017, so eager to join hands with smaller parties?

To find an answer to this question, we take a look at the statistics of the last few elections and the caste equations of the state.

The target voters for most of the smaller parties is their own caste.

But before that, let us know which party is fighting against whom in the election this time.

BJP Lost Old Friends but Is Forming New Ties

In 2017, the BJP along with SBSP and Anupriya Patel's Apna Dal (AD) contested the UP Assembly elections, but this time Rajbhar cut ties with the BJP long before the upcoming elections and formed an alliance with the SP.

BJP, too, has found a new alliance partner. Now, apart from Apna Dal (Sonelal), Sanjay Nishad's Nishad Party (NISHAD) will also contest the elections with the BJP.

SP Faces Away From Big Parties

In the 2017 Assembly elections, the SP-Congress alliance had entered the election fray with slogans like “UP ke ladke...” but the parties were not successful.

In the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, Akhilesh Yadav joined hands with arch-rival Mayawati, but could not find much success there as well. Now, he has decided to fight the elections by joining with smaller parties. In fact, he is taking parties like the Trinamool Congress (TMC) and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) alongside him. Mamata Banerjee has also agreed to hold a rally for the SP in UP.

With BJP, there is Apna Dal (S) and Nishad Party and with SP there are parties like RLD, SBSP & Apna Dal (K).
Currently, there are seven parties with the SP.

Report Card of BJP Allies in 2017 Polls

In 2017, BJP ally Apna Dal (S) got 0.98 percent votes and won nine seats while Nishad Party got 0.6 percent votes and won one seat.

In the elections, the BJP had formed the government by winning 312 seats with 39.67 percent votes.

Report Card of SP’s Allies in 2017 Polls

In 2017, the Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) contested the elections alone and got 1.78 percent votes, while managing to win only one seat.

Om Prakash Rajbhar's SBSP, which contested the last election with the BJP and is with the SP this time, got 0.07 percent votes and won four seats. This time Akhilesh Yadav has formed ties with Mahan Dal, which got 0.11 percent votes in 2017. Apart from this, Yadav has the support of four other parties.

Role of Smaller Parties in UP Elections

When we analyse the 2017 UP Assembly elections, it seems that most of these parties get less than one percent vote share so one wonders if these parties will be able to make any significant impact in the upcoming polls.

However, these smaller parties get a lot of votes in their respective areas, and they have a solid hold within their own castes. This is the reason why both the BJP and the SP are teaming up with them.


What Is the Effect of RLD?

Even though the RLD got less than 2 percent votes in the 2017 elections, the chief of the party and grandfather of Jayant Chaudhary, Chaudhary Charan Singh has been a big name in the UP politics, which Ajit Singh has upheld. But the RLD, which banks on the Muslim-Jat equation, suffered a major setback in 2014 when the relations between Jat and Muslims took a toll after the riots and the party’s vote bank dipped.

This time Jayant Chaudhary has announced that he has gathered his supporters. Political critics say that the RLD could benefit from the farmers' agitation.

Jats constitute about 4 percent of Uttar Pradesh’s population, but in western UP, the Jat population is nearly 17 percent. This is why Jayant Chaudhary is claiming that he has gathered the support of his traditional voters. Apart from this, Chaudhary could benefit from his alliance with the SP since Muslims constitute about 32 percent of the population in western UP.

However, if according to Chaudhary Jat-Muslim bond is secured, then his claims could be true.

The RLD wields the most influence in the districts of Saharanpur, Meerut, Muzaffar Nagar, Shamli, and Bijnor.

What Is the Impact of Suheldev Samaj Party?

Om Prakash Rajbhar, president of Suheldev Samaj Party, claims that his party has influence in about 100 seats in eastern UP. Rajbhar, who claims to represent Rajbhar Samaj, had contested the previous elections with the BJP.

According to the report of the Social Justice Committee (SJC), Rajbhars constitute about 3 percent of the state’s population, but occupy only 15-20 percent, or two dozen, of the seats. Districts like Varanasi, Jaunpur, Azamgarh, Deoria, and Ballia are also included.

Mahan Dal?

Keshav Dev Maurya formed the Mahan Dal party after separating from the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) in 2008. Mahan Dal, which claims to represent Maurya, Bhagat, Bhujbal, Saini, and Shakya communities in UP, received 0.11 percent votes in 2017.

However, experts have raised questions on Mahan Dal’s Maurya representation claims as Swami Prasad Maurya, who recently joined the SP from BJP, and Keshav Prasad Maurya, Deputy CM in the BJP government, also come from the Maurya community. So how can Keshav Dev Maurya claim that he represents the Maurya community?

It is true that all the three leaders come from the Maurya community but all three come from different regions, that is why the SP has joined with both the Maurya leaders.

Swami Prasad Maurya has influence over seats in Eastern UP while Keshav Dev Maurya exerts influence in some seats of Western UP.

Apna Dal (K)

Apna Dal has two factions. One faction is a BJP ally, which is led by Anupriya Patel, and the other faction has tied up with the SP, which is represented by Krishna Patel, the mother of Anupriya Patel.

Apna Dal was formed by Krishna Patel's husband Sonelal, who was from the Kurmi community. Now the fate of these groups relies on the Kurmi voters. There are about 6 percent Kurmi voters in UP, which can have a big impact on the seats.

Role of PSP, TMC and NCP

Pragatisheel Samajwadi Party (PSP) belongs to Akhilesh Yadav's uncle Shivpal Yadav but now, he has joined with Akhilesh and will contest elections under the symbol of SP.

The SP had suffered a major loss in 2017 elections due to fights within the family. Both Akhilesh Yadav and Shivpal Yadav have the same voters. In the case of TMC and NCP, neither of these two parties have any real impact in UP. But Akhilesh Yadav is trying to woo voters with the support of Mamata Banerjee's rally and NCP leaders.

Apna Dal (Sonelal)

BJP ally Anupriya Patel's Apna Dal (Sonelal) has the support of Kurmi votes and the party has got a lot of success – from the 2014 Lok Sabha elections to the 2017 Assembly and the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. Currently, Patel is an MP from Mirzapur and a minister in the Modi government. She also has nine seats in the UP assembly.

Anupriya Patel has the most influence in Banaras and Sonbhadra. Although Kurmi votes are in decent number in Barabanki, Bahraich, Fatehpur and Bundelkhand as well, it cannot be said that Anupriya Patel represents them all as her mother is also in the fray. Her mother describes herself as the real heir of Sonelal Patel's political legacy.

Nishad Party?

The Nishad community constitutes about 5 percent of the population in UP, of which a large number live alongside riverbanks. However, it is not Nishad alone that completes this society. Other castes which are known as Mallah, Manjhi, Dheevar, Bind, Kahar, and Kashyap also are all part of the Nishad community.

Their influence can be seen in Ghaziabad-Noida adjacent to Gorakhpur, Mau, Ghazipur, Ballia, Varanasi, Allahabad, Jaunpur, Fatehpur, and Yamuna. In the 2017 Assembly elections, Nishad Party contested alone and won one seat with 0.62 percent votes. This time the party is contesting the elections in alliance with the BJP.

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

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Topics:  Samajwadi Party   Akhilesh Yadav   UP BJP 

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