The assertion that whoever holds court within the Uttar Pradesh assembly is of critical importance to the Indian polity is incontestable. All the shibboleths of power tell us so. My colleague Vicky Nanjappa wrote in his January 5 piece ‘Nine out of India’s 15 prime ministers have been from Uttar Pradesh. Prime Minister Narendra Modi who hails from Gujarat represents the Varanasi constituency which is in Uttar Pradesh. These statistics alone would tell how important UP is and why the elections in this state would be a referendum for any party.’
A few more statistics should clear any lingering doubts. The state is the world’s most populous sub-national entity; one of every six Indians is located in UP. The state sends 80 out of the 543 members of the lower house of the Indian Parliament. It boasts 30 of the Rajya Sabha’s maximum 250 members, and we all know how desperate both the NDA and the Opposition parties are to wrest control of that space.
The Uttar Pradesh assembly election is not merely important for the BJP’s future in the Rajya Sabha but is also a test for its political efficacy in the aftermath of the Centre’s demonetisation move. Since there is no way to gauge the potential success of the party in a yet-to-be-conducted election one is forced to look back the past and lessons gleaned thence. A Laevinic defeat The BJP saw two consecutive defeats in assembly polls in 2015, first in Delhi and then in Bihar. The Delhi results saw them run aground with many observers stating the Modi wave had finally broken. However, a closer look at the numbers shakes that notion. Delhi In the 2015 elections, the BJP may have lost its chance to run the Delhi assembly but its vote share remained almost intact. In the 2013 Delhi assembly polls, the BJP won 31 out of 68 contested seats. It’s vote share was 33.07 per cent with 26,04,100 votes. The 2015 elections saw the BJP vote share almost intact. According to the Election Commission data, the BJP’s vote share has reduced by about jt one per cent, bringing it down to 32.1 per cent (27,79,810 votes).
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