Outcome of Assembly Elections: Round up of States
Asia News Agency
The BJP won 253 seats in a house of 413, in a deeply bipolar contest though with a reduced tally from their 2017 score of 312 seats. The Samajwadi Party (SP) a distant runner-up with 113 seats, lost the fight even though it registered an improved vote share of nearly ten percentage points and an increase in its tally by 66 seats.
Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, who is the first Chief Minister to return to power in the State, called it a defeat for the politics of casteist and nepotism. There were numerous against the Yogi government including the high rate of unemployment, mishandling of the COVID pandemic, and disregard for the farmers with the Centre’s three infamous farm laws. His rival, SP chief Akhilesh Yadav’s election rallies were also well attended. But all his efforts fell short.
Direct battle between BJP and SP: A point to note was that unlike the three-cornered contests in the past, this time, it was a direct battle between BJP and SP relegating other parties to the margins. The BSP (Bahujan Samaj Party) which is said to have a 20% captive vote bank of Dalits got only a single seat — a huge fall from its 2017 tally of 19. Its vote share also fell from 22.23% to a little over 12%. The Congress which had got 6.25% votes in 2017 is down to 2.4%. It managed to win only two seats, five short of its 2017 tally.
Victory uniform across all regions: The BJP’s victory on the other hand, is uniform across all regions of Uttar Pradesh. In Lakhimpur Kheri, where eight persons were mowed down allegedly by Union Minister Ajay Mishra’s son during a protest march by the farmers, the party swept all the eight seats. The BJP won even in areas considered to SP strongholds.
Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath’s stature: In the end, it was a thumping victory for BJP’s chief minister Yogi Adityanath. If the 2017 elections were won solely on Modi’s image, Bhupendra Pandey (Resident Editor of the Indian Express' Lucknow) says “the 2022 polls were focused on Adityanath’s governance in the last five years.”
Significantly, unlike past CMs appointed from Delhi, Adityanath was not subservient to Delhi’s diktat. For example, Delhi’s efforts to have a former Gujarat bureaucrat, Arvind Sharma, a Modi favourite, inducted in the UP cabinet after Sharma was elected a member of the UP legislative council, failed. Adityanath refused to have him.
High in the reckoning as a future leader: Like Modi, writes Radhika Ramaseshan (senior journalist) “Adityanath is a singleton and, therefore, thought to be a politician who will not lust after wealth and favours for the family……” Adityanath’s ascendancy has implications for the BJP. The victory “puts Adityanath high in the reckoning as a future leader.”