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Opinion

Is The Mood Of Voters Souring Against BJP in U.P. & Gujarat ?

The BJP faces a big challenge in Gujarat having lost its significant advantage of being ahead of its main rival by at least 10 per cent in terms of votes polled. Their chances of going into minus appears doubtful but cannot be ruled out. That might well be cliffhanger on which there are no wagers.
An analysis of the latest Lokniti-CSDS-ABP poll indicates possible trouble brewing for Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Lotus party president Amit Shah in their home state. This gets compounded in the wake of saffron brigade’s poor performance in the recent three-tiered civic elections in the crucial state of Uttar Pradesh. The only saving grace for the BJP pertains to winning 14 of the 16 contests for the post of Mayor. Otherwise it was a dismal performance. The ruling party in Lucknow managed just 18.7 per cent of the seats while the non-BJP opposition secured a mammoth 81.3 per cent. 
The prestige of the two-phase assembly election in Gujarat beginning on December 9 and second scheduled for December 14 with the counting fixed four days later on December 18 cannot be undermined. 
It is understandable why Yogi Adityanath had to keep up the facade of having done well in the civic polls. He was in the forefront of campaigning for the municipal elections after the saffron brigade’s stunning three-fourths victory in the 403-member assembly elections in UP barely eight months back.  
Out of the 12,644 seats contested in all the tiers of the municipal elections, the BJP won only 2,366 with 10,278 seats being garnered by the opposition. This is not only debilitating but shocking and far from the rosy picture painted by the BJP and its supporters. Earlier this year in March, the people had backed the Lotus party in 33 districts in UP but chose not to vote for them in the civic elections this time. 
Of the 60 wards under the Ayodhya-Faizabad municipal corporation, the BJP won 30, SP 18, BSP two and Congress one. Nine went to independents. In the three nagar panchayats in Faizabad district collectively having 34 seats, the Lotus came a cropper. The Samajwadi party which had not evinced any interest in the civic polls this time swept all the 11 seats in Bhadarsa panchayat. The SP did not want to suffer another setback after its humiliating defeat in the assembly elections earlier this year. They preferred biding their time with an eye on the 2019 general elections.   
The BJP won 596 seats of corporators while the opposition and independents bagged 703 seats. In the next tier, the BJP won 70 of the 198 posts of chairpersons of Nagar Palika and the opposition 128. The SP won 45 seats, BSP 29 and Independents 43. The story was no different in the case of councillors of Nagar Palikas. The BJP won 922 seats and the opposition along with the independents bagged a massive 4,338 seats. Again, the SP won 477 seats, the BSP 262 and AAP 17. An overwhelming number of 3,380 Independents also registered a win. 
In the elections for Nagar Panchayat chiefs, the BJP won 100 posts and non-BJP parties and Independents 338. The SP won 83 seats, BSP 45, AAP and Congress two each and AIMIM one. The Independents triumphed in 182 seats. 
The Nagar Panchayat elections saw the BJP win 664 seats and the opposition a whopping 4,769. A majority of 3,875 seats went to Independents. The SP tally was 453 seats, BSP 218, Congress 126, AAP 19, AIMIM six and Janata Dal (Secular) 13. 
The grassroots electorate expressed its firm resentment of the BJP. This is a huge wake up call for the central leadership of the BJP coupled with Yogi Adityanath’s style of functioning particularly as the chief minister.  
Surprisingly, the BJP failed to secure a majority in Modi’s constituency of Varanasi. Expectedly, the Congress was laid low in Rahul Gandhi’s Amethi constituency.
This might well be an indication of the voter mood beginning to sour against Modi and the Lotus party in large parts of UP? 
Interestingly, the BSP has shown signs of revival despite party supremo and former chief minister Mayawati’s marked disinterest in any kind of local elections. This assumes importance especially after the BSP’s rout in the assembly elections in UP earlier this year leading to speculation about the regional party’s survival. 
The state will witness two crucial Lok Sabha elections for the seats vacated by Yogi Adityanath and Deputy Chief minister Keshav Prasad Maurya. Will the BJP’s poor performance in the civic elections take a toll on these seats due to the inimical local factors. The discernible dissatisfaction with Yogi Adityanath’s rule in the state is reflected in the poor outcome of the civic elections. BJP strategists are, however, confident of overcoming the challenge posed by the Congress and other non-BJP opposition encompassing the resentment among the Patidars and other backward classes and farmers in Gujarat. 
Impartial observers believe Modi and the BJP will somehow manage to retain power in Gandhinagar ensuring there is no break in BJP’s uninterrupted rule for more than two decades. 
However, there is a big, big ‘if’ about unthinkable happening in the wake of the no holds barred political one-upmanship in Gujarat, it is bound to cast a shadow on the upcoming assembly elections next year in several states including Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan among others and inevitably the 2019 general elections.   
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By TIS Staffer
the authorBy TIS Staffer

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