Can BJP hold on to Bundelkhand?
Jhansi, Banda, Hamirpur, and Jalaun form the Bundelkhand region, and in 2014 general elections, all four unanimously voted for the BJP. Five years down, how do the people of Bundelkhand feel about BJP? Are they willing to once again place their bets with the party that governed the country for five years?
The answers lie in revisiting how the people voted in 2014 and the conditions prevailing at the time. In 2014, there was widespread anti-incumbency against the UPA II, and Narendra Modi-led BJP presented a fresh hope of development to the people.
Outside the Congress, two important contenders – the Samajwadi Party (SP) and the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), fought the elections independently and both missed the opportunity to challenge a rising BJP.
Five years on, the mood has changed. The development has not taken place in Bundelkhand at a pace people expected, and though Narendra Modi individually retains popularity among people, local leaders of the party have not delivered. With tickets denied to some sitting members, unhappy cadres within the BJP are hurting the chances.
But the most important development is the coming together of SP and BSP, with tacit support from the Congress, is posing the biggest challenge to the BJP.
In 2014, BJP in Jhansi won 43.6 percent vote share against 45.4 percent combined vote share of SP-BSP. The Congress received 6.4 percent vote share.
Similarly, in Banda, SP-BSP together accounted for 48.5 percent against BJP’s 39.8 percent with Congress getting 4.3 percent votes.
In Hamirpur, BJP did better receiving 46.4 percent votes against SP-BSP’s vote share of 37.1 percent. Congress got 8 percent shares.
In Jalaun (SC), BJP 49.5 percent vote share against 39.9 percent of SP-BSP and 7.5 percent by the Congress.
With SP-BSP coming together and Congress working on cutting into BJP’s votes, the other backward classes, Dalits and the Muslims are largely leaning towards the SP-BSP combine. The lackluster performance of local BJP leaders and the infighting among disgruntled leaders in the local BJP unit are all contributing to raising chances of an SP-BSP victory in the region. That is not good news for the BJP leadership in Delhi.
When Amit Shah visited Amethi
BJP president Amit Shah was in the opposition backyard of Amethi and was at his aggressive best while taking on Congress president Rahul Gandhi.
Speaking to Times of India, Amit Shah spoke of how people in Amethi were going to reject ‘dynasty’ politics in favour of ‘development.’ He was confident the central government initiatives on social welfare programs like Ujala and Ujjwala schemes and Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana had a positive impact on people’s lives, and they were ready to reward the Narendra Modi-led BJP.
He further spoke of the good work done in Amethi by the party candidate and Union minister Smriti Irani since 2014 would bear fruits this time, and she would win by a big margin.
Mayawati confirms the Gathbandhan without Mahagathbandhan
The colour of Indian politics remains eclectic and evolving in shape, form, and ideology. If one went by recent statements of leaders of the SP, BSP and the Congress, it would tell the layman the 2019 general elections was a three-cornered contest between the SP-BSP alliance, the Congress, and the BJP. And indeed, the statements have been uncharitable and bitter between the three major contenders.
The past year has witnessed loads of media reports of talks for a Mahagathbandhan, a united opposition coming together with one single objective – removal of BJP from power. Despite countless hours of hard negotiations and bargaining, the opposition failed to come together. The Congress on its part failed to stitch up an alliance with the SP-BSP, with Mayawati adamant on holding majority seat share in U.P.
The result was an official alliance between SP-BSP and an understanding of accommodative support with the Congress in certain seats. That has been the unofficial position till four rounds of voting. BSP Supremo Mayawati has now come out openly to ask people to vote for Rahul Gandhi in Amethi and Sonia Gandhi in Rae Bareli. Not a surprise but a reaffirmation of a Gathbandhan outside a Mahagathbandhan.
Sharad Yadav on why the NDA is losing Bihar
RJD leader Sharad Yadav is convinced the BJP has polarized the voters, especially the backward classes, the Muslims and the Dalits against it, and 2019 will see Bihar reject the polarizing politics of the BJP. He believes the NDA is set to lose the seats it gained in 2014, and the result will impact BJP’s chances of another term.