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8 Reasons Why BJP Won An Unprecedented Mandate In Uttar Pradesh

The BJP has won UP with a thumping majority. Here’s why.

Updated
How did the BJP manage to register such a thumping majority in UP? (Photo: PTI)

The Bharatiya Janata Party’s unprecedented victory in the Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections has left everyone asking the same question – how did the party manage to register such a thumping majority?

Here are eight reasons why the BJP won big in the state.

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Modi's Connect With The People

Much of the credit for the BJP’s win in Uttar Pradesh goes to Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The win is testament to the appeal he enjoys among the people of the state.

During the party’s aggressive campaigning, PM Modi did not forgo a single opportunity to lead from the front, even if that meant a prolonged stay in Varanasi.

BJP supporters offer sweets to a cutout of PM Narendra Modi as they celebrate the party’s victory in the assembly elections. (Photo: PTI)
BJP supporters offer sweets to a cutout of PM Narendra Modi as they celebrate the party’s victory in the assembly elections. (Photo: PTI)

Demonetisation is Seen as a Pro-Poor Move

A lot was said about demonetisation and its effects on the common man.

However, the way things have panned out, it appears as though the poor did not care much about the note ban and that the majority viewed it as a move to weed out corruption by punishing the rich.

The Union Budget, which came close on the heels of the scrapping of the high-value currency notes, was touted to be a pro-poor budget – with the government promising loan waivers and populist schemes for the poor.

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Not Declaring a CM Candidate Helped

Despite pressure, the BJP did not declare a chief ministerial candidate in Uttar Pradesh. The move appears to have helped enhance the party’s efforts to reach out to Dalit and Economically Backward Classes (EBC) voters.

If the BJP fielded a candidate from a particular social group, the party ran the risk of alienating another group. For instance, had the party announced the candidature of a hardliner like Yogi Adityanath, it might have significantly dented its chances of getting votes among those who support the Prime Minister’s pro-vikas image.

Importing Leaders and Accommodating Them

For the BJP, the winnability of candidates was the sole selection criterion, even if that meant importing leaders and accommodating them.

The BJP welcomed leaders from other parties, and even accommodated their associates at the cost of alienating some of its own established support base – a risk that had to be taken in order to expand its reach. It appears as though the gamble has paid off.

Senior Congress member Rita Bahuguna Joshi with BJP President Amit Shah in October last year. (Photo: PTI)
Senior Congress member Rita Bahuguna Joshi with BJP President Amit Shah in October last year. (Photo: PTI)
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Appointing Maurya, a Non-Yadav OBC, to Replace a Brahmin as the Head of BJP UP

Appointing Keshav Prasad Maurya as the BJP state president was an important step in the direction of consolidating the non-Yadav OBC votes.

It was important for the BJP to shed its tag of being a party of savarns (Brahmins and Baniyas), and the timing of the change of guard at the state unit a few months before the elections was aimed at just that.

A Controlled Dose of Hindutva

An aggressive Hindutva push was bound to prove risky in a state with a sizeable Muslim population. However, a covert and controlled dose did wonders for the BJP.

Even Modi’s kabristan-shamshan ghat comment was accurately timed. It came after elections in three phases were over. In the subsequent phases, Muslims did not have the numbers to decisively impact the outcome.

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Mayawati's Declining Influence and Transfer of Dalit Votes to the BJP

Bahujan Samaj Party supremo Mayawati has used a Dalit-Muslim and Dalit-Muslim-Brahmin alliance in the past.

This time, the BSP had fielded Muslim candidates in 97 seats, OBCs in 106 seats and upper caste Hindus in 117 seats. But Mayawati’s social engineering strategy failed miserably. It is likely that some of these influential social groups may have switched sides and voted for the BJP.

Fielding Young Leaders: A Gamble That Paid Off

Fielding young leaders, even at the risk of replacing veterans, worked for the BJP.

For instance, Shyamdev Roy Chaudhari (Dada) had to give up his ticket to the Varanasi South constituency to a younger Brahmin leader. There was a lot of resentment over the issue. But it all paid off.

(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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