The Yogi Adityanath-led Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP) has scripted a historic win in Uttar Pradesh (UP) by becoming the only party to come back to power second time in a row in the state in over three decades.
As per the Election Commission of India's (ECI) final tally, the BJP won 255 of the total 403 seats, while the main challenger, the Samajwadi Party won 111 seats.
Despite putting up a strong fight by forming half a dozen alliances, including one in eastern UP with Suheldev Bharatiya Samaj Party (SBSP) and in western UP with Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD), the SP seems to have not created the kind of impact it had envisaged.
BJP's allies Apna Dal (Soneylal), led by Anupriya Patel, won 12 seats, and the other ally, Nirbal Indian Shoshit Hamara Aam Dal (NISHAD) party got six seats, taking the total up for the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) to 273. The SP's two allies, SBSP and RLD, secured six and eight seats, respectively -- taking the tally up for the SP-led alliance to 125.
Meanwhile, the Congress got two seats, as did muscleman-turned politician Raja Bhaiya's party Jansatta Dal Loktantrik Party. The BSP got an abysmal one seat.
SP Does Better Than 2017, Not Enough to Form Govt
The BJP has a vote share of 41.29 percent, and got 38,051,721 votes, while the SP has a vote share of 32.06 percent, with 29,543,934 votes.
It is pertinent to note that the SP has done better in absolute terms that it did in the last assembly election in 2017.
In western UP, where RLD’s Jayant Chaudhary merged as the face of the alliance, and where the year-long farmers’ protest was centred, early trends today indicated that the RLD may not have got the desired results. The party, however, managed to secure eight of the 33 seats they had fielded candidates in.
In Kannauj, the BJP’s latest recruit Asim Arun, the IPS officer who took voluntary retirement to join the party, defeated SP’s Anil Kumar Doharey. In 2017, the SP had lost two seats in Kannauj -- Tirwa and Chhibramau – and had retained Kannauj. This time, the SP has lost all three seats in the district, which was once their bastion.
BSP Decimated in UP
The real slump in performance, however, has been shown by Mayawati-led Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) with a significant drop in vote share percentage this assembly election. In 2017, the BSP had a vote share of more than 22 percent. In 2022, the BSP vote share went down to 12.9 percent – leaving the party and its leader, Mayawati, much to introspect about.
In 2016-17, she lost several OBC leaders to the BJP, and recently, the party was emptied out further as many flocked to the SP. As per ECI, the BSP got 11,873,137 votes, and only one seat – Rasara in Ballia district.
Meanwhile, the incumbent deputy CM Keshav Prasad Maurya, who fought the election from Sirathu, lost to SP's Dr Pallavi Patel, who is the sister of Anupriya Patel, the BJP ally. Swami Prasad Maurya, who quit the BJP to join the SP and whose move created quite the stir in backward caste politics, also lost to the BJP candidate by a big margin from Fazilnagar.
In Bundelkhand region – dominated by non-Yadav OBCs -- all 19 seats have gone to the BJP, barring one, which too has gone to its ally, Apna Dal (Soneylal).
Election results indicate that the Opposition has not been successful in converting issues such as unemployment, inflation, farmers' protest and the stray cattle menace, into votes. The BJP has retained power through its strategy of welfare schemes such as free ration, communal politics, the Hindutva push, and its COVID-19 handling publicity campaign.