The first phase of election is over in Uttar Pradesh and the key Western UP has already voted. So what are the key factors to watch out as the wait for counting day becomes more and more unbearable. For BJP and Narendra Modi this was no doubt a key phase of polls in the entire election gamut across the state.
This is primarily because the western UP belt has a muslim majority vote bank. Despite the many fatwas and speculation, the popular belief is they might have afterall casted a majority support for the Samajwadi Party- Congress alliance. This could be a rather interesting situation. Of the total 17% Muslim voters in the state, 26% of them are in Western Uttar Pradesh and almost every party was bending over itself to appease them. Securing a strong majority in this region will augur well for any party keen to win this election. But the challenge remains in terms of how the various parties can translate these votes effectively into constituencies and seats?
Another voter group that the political parties have to regard with caution is the Jat community. Regardless of the BJP’s claims, they have not hidden their resentment against the saffron party. The understanding is that the overall impact of the Jat agitation in Haryana is clearly evident across Western UP. Ajit Singh’s RLD might have divided the votes in a few of the seats with Jat majority voters but in the absence of a specific cast support, just anti-BJP votes may not have a huge negative impact.
From the BJP perspective, experts also feel that the party could suffer the implications of not projecting a chief ministerial face, especially given the sway that Akhilesh Yadav has on the younger voters.
In a rally in Lakhimpur, the Prime Minister clearly spelt out his attack strategy against Akhilesh Yadav and company and even alleged that corrupt hands are joining hands to defeat him. He outlined that, “In her tenure, Mayawati gave electricity to 23 villages. In his tenure, Akhilesh gave electricity to just three more villages. But in just the last two years since I became Prime Minister, I have given electricity to 1,364 villages.”
The question is can the BJP and Narendra Modi sway the votes in their favour on this development agenda in a state that is known for its complex socio-political construct? Can the promise of a better tomorrow convince voters to set aside communal and social divides? Well only the results on counting day could answer that. Till then it would be interesting to see howBJP handles the voting trend in the phases to follow.