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Will BJP Be Able To Sustain Its Surge In Uttar Pradesh: NDTV Battleground


Varanasi:

The battle for Uttar Pradesh — which sends the maximum number of members to the Lok Sabha — could turn out to be an existential one for the Congress and Mayawati. For Akhilesh Yadav’s Samajwadi Party, it would be crucial since the politics in Uttar Pradesh is turning out to be bipolar one, where the regional party is playing the role of the main opposition. These were the conclusions of political experts participating this evening in NDTV’s special show Battleground, hosted by Editor-in-chief Sanjay Pugalia.

Since 2014, the BJP has made Uttar Pradesh its own, sweeping the state not only that year but in every subsequent election — Lok Sabha or assembly. The party has built a 50 per cent vote bank in the state, in which Varanasi, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s constituency, had a big role to play. This depended on several factors – including the city’s magnificent cosmopolitan background and the position it enjoys as the country’s oldest and holiest pilgrim centre.

“In 2014, when the BJP was planning a strategy, they needed a great performance and they had to perform in UP to reach the majority mark,” said Sandeep Shastri, the national coordinator of Lokniti Network.

In that circumstance, it was felt that if the Prime Ministerial candidate fights from UP as well as his seat in Gujarat, it could provide the big push the party needs in the state.

“Fighting from Varanasi also had an impact on the areas nearby. Varanasi’s cultural significance has been a factor. Since 2014, there has been a lot of development that has happened,” he added.  

What has also made a difference is the shift in the Muslim vote. “The BJP, which used to get single digit vote per cent, now gets double-digit Muslim vote per cent. Unfortunately, if Muslims vote for BJP, they are called Sarkaari Muslims,” said Yashwant Desmukh, the Founder-Director of CVoter.

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