Nervous BJP may postpone assembly polls in UP

Fearing a crushing defeat in the upcoming UP assembly polls, the ruling Bhartiya Janta Party (BJP) may postpone the elections, hints emerging from the power corridors suggest

Representative Image (PTI)
Representative Image (PTI)

NH Political Bureau

Fearing a crushing defeat in the upcoming UP assembly polls, the ruling Bhartiya Janta Party (BJP) may postpone the elections, hints emerging from the power corridors suggest.

An analysis of the sequence of events leading to the Chief Election Commission (CEC) saying that the final decision would be taken after a visit to the state is an indication that the BJP – despite trying its best to polarise the polls along religious lines – is not confident of the victory, feel political observers.

The chorus for the postponement of the elections grew louder after the Allahabad HC recently urged the Election Commission to postpone the UP elections by a month or two.

Heaping praises on PM Modi for the vaccination drive, the Allahabad HC judge Shekhar Yadav urged him to impose “ban on election gatherings” in the wake of rising Omicron cases in India.

“If there is life, election rallies and meetings can be held in future as well and Article 21 of the Constitution provides us the Right to Life,” observed Justice Yadav.

A day after Justice Yadav’s observation, CEC Sushil Chandra said, “Next week we will go to Uttar Pradesh, review the situation there, and then take an appropriate decision.”

Political observers believe that these kinds of “suggestive remarks” are an indication of the nervousness of the ruling dispensation.

“Although Modi did a 30-hours long show during the inauguration of Kashi Vishwanath Corridor in Varanasi to keep up the spirit of the saffron party…the turnout in the rallies on the ground is not up to the expectation of the saffron party,” said a Lucknow based political commentator.

“On the contrary, SP chief Akhilesh Yadav and Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra are catching up the imagination of the masses. Huge turnout in their rallies has made the BJP government doubtful of their strength to win the elections,” said the observer.

“BJP government will happily postpone the elections as they have got a very negative feedback,” said a political analyst citing BJP’s internal feedback.

“There are murmurs in the power corridors in Lucknow that the BJP’s tally may go below 100 seats in the elections,” he said.

Former UP Congress chief Raj Babbar also dropped a hint at the negative feedback on Twitter and wrote a cryptic post on the possibility of the BJP loosing polls.

“The BJP government is looking for an excuse. Farmers in the Western UP have not forgiven the BJP, despite Modi seeking an apology and withdrawing farm laws. To placate their anger, the BJP government may increase the Kisan Samman Nidhi from Rs 6000 per month to 10-12 thousand per month,” said an agriculture expert who runs a farmers’ organisation also in Western UP.

BJP MP Subramanian Swamy and Supreme Court lawyer Prashant Bhushan have also expressed their apprehension on Twitter. If elections are postponed, “it means that the BJP is convinced it will lose UP,” wrote Bhushan.

Not only did the BJP receive negative feedback from Uttar Pradesh but the feedback from Uttarakhand is also not at par with their expectations, believe observers.

“In Punjab, they have not been a force ever. Alliance with Captain is not yielding the required electoral dividends,” said an observer.

“Defeat in the 2022 assembly elections will impact the saffron party prospect in 2024 Lok Sabha polls also. That is why the possibility of postponement of polls cannot be ruled out,” said an observer.

As per sources, the feedback from the RSS is similar to the BJP’s internal survey. A high-profile RSS karyakarta conceded a few days ago that the BJP is constructing a grand Ram Temple at Ayodhya “but the construction-drive has so far failed to generate the fervor among the mases as the demolition drive did in 1990s.”

Sources told NH that the BJP’s strategists are of the view that postponement of elections may eventually go in favor of the BJP as 1) the party will get time to identify and improve upon its weak points/ loopholes and 2) farmers’ anger will subside by then.

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