In Uttar Pradesh, BJP focused on temple, opposition pitched polls as a vote on democracy

Prime Minister Narendra Modi during a roadshow for Lok Sabha polls, in Ayodhya. File photo
| Photo Credit: ANI

The campaign for Uttar Pradesh, politically the most critical state, which elects 80 MPs to the lower house of parliament, saw the major political parties pitching their campaign agendas across the State in intense campaigning.

The Bharatiya Janata Party concentrated on religious issues like the Ram Temple, and its nationalism pitch with the party’s well-oiled organisational machinery taking the narrative deep into the hinterland. The BJP also engineered robust social coalitions with Other Backward Classes (OBCs) caste centric sub-regional parties like the Suheldev Bharatiya Samaj Party (SBSP) of Om Prakash Rajbhar, the Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) of Jayant Chaudhary, Annupriya Patel’s Apna Dal (Sonelal), and NISHAD party of Sanjay Nishad in a bid to make sure nothing was left to chance.

The Samajwadi Party (SP) and the Congress led a spirited campaign for the opposition INDIA bloc. It focused on issues such as economic anxiety, farmers distress, and alleged erosion of Constitutional and democratic institutions during BJP rule with leaders claiming that the 2024 polls were a vote to save Indian democracy which is under grave threat under the BJP dispensation. The Caste Census pitch also dominated the campaign vocabulary of the INDIA alliance. The broader rainbow alliance that the SP formed for the 2022 assembly polls with multiple sub-regional parties was missing in the Lok Sabha elections with two of its former allies, the RLD and the SBSP crossing over to the NDA.

Temple at the core

The BJP’s campaign pitch in U.P. had Ram Temple at the core with the Prime Minister Narendra Modi even claiming that the Congress and SP would bulldoze the temple if elected, adding that the opposition should learn from Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath where to use bulldozers.
“These parties (Congress and SP) disrespected Ram Lalla for decades and when after 500 years, the dream of a grand Ram Temple was fulfilled in Ayodhya, they rejected the invitation to the consecration ceremony. If the SP-Congress come to power, they will send Ram Lalla back to the tent and bulldoze the temple,” said the PM in a Barabanki rally. Mr. Modi even accused the two INDIA alliance parties of allying with forces who insult the people of U.P. The playbook of the SP and the Congress is dangerous. They seek votes here, but in south India, when their partners use abusive language to describe the people of U.P. and Sanatana Dharma, they remain silent,” the Prime Minister alleged, speaking in Janupur. Other top BJP leaders aggressively pitched the revocation of Article 370 in Kashmir, and India’s tough stand on terror.

SP president Akhilesh Yadav said the elections were a vote on India’s democracy and cautioned voters that if the BJP returned to power, they may introduce a law which will take rights from farmers and marginalised communities like the Scheduled Caste (SC) and backwards.
“This 2024 Lok Sabha election is not only our election but also the election of the coming generations. Just like the Samudra manthan (churning of the ocean), this is an election to save the Constitution and democracy,” he said in many of his rallies. Mr. Yadav and Congress leader Rahul Gandhi pushed for a caste-based-census alleging that the BJP has deliberately avoided the caste census exercise as it is afraid of giving legitimate rights to backwards and marginalised sections. In Eastern and central U.P. which have sizeable OBC populations the issue was at the forefront of the INDIA alliance parties campaign pitch.

The Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) led by four-time U.P. CM Mayawati, once a formidable player in the electoral calculus of U.P. went solo. The party president was missing from campaigning for most of the election. She removed her heir apparent and nephew Akash Anand from key organisational posts in the middle of the elections.

Source link

Leave a comment