INDIA: Politics is dynamic and pivotal in the Indian political landscape. It is an everyday affair and an intriguing tea-point discussion for many. The significance of such a massive phenomenon in a huge democracy like India goes up multi folds when several factors affect it on the ground. These factors are potential enough to either direct or deflect the political scenario at large.
One such curious case is the Assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh. UP is India’s biggest, most important, and most complex political battleground. The state has the highest number of Lok Sabha seats i.e. 80. As the state is in the run-up to the election, several key factors are here to impact the same and leave a footmark on Indian politics.
To understand these factors that lead to UP elections playing an important role in Indian politics, let us segregate them into two groups, the long-running factors and the immediate factors.
The long-running factors
● A large state, larger vote bank: UP is the largest state of India, both demographically and politically, and thus holds the potential to make or break the path to the larger picture in politics. It comprises 80 Assembly seats with a huge voter population of 15.02 crores, of which 52.80 lakh are first-time voters.
For a political system to thrive with a majority, it goes unsaid that the larger the state, the larger is the vote bank, thus giving an edge to the party that triumphs in such a large state. Consequently, the win or loss in UP elections sets a major backdrop for Indian politics.
● Visibly significant caste component: UP’s caste politics is one of the most vibrant ones in India. Politics in this landlocked state has always gone hand in hand with Dalits at the center stage.
For a long time, the Dalit politics in UP was spearheaded by the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP). However, the baton is now at a crossroads as the ruling party in the state & Centre, BJP has made a notable presence amongst the Dalits while also investing its focus on Hindu and Muslim vote banks. The two key parties in the state- BJP and BSP can thus be seen
eyeing the caste component. As a result, the outcomes of the Assembly elections in UP may set the tone for Dalit politics in the years ahead.
● The winner is the supreme: A winner of the UP Assembly elections will make way for the possibility of making it big on the national stage. It implies that the party leaving a remarkable footprint in Uttar Pradesh this year will most likely have an edge in the 2024 Parliamentary elections.
For instance, if BJP wins in Uttar Pradesh, CM Yogi Adityanath is likely to be put forth as the key successor to PM Narendra Modi. Thus, the UP elections are a major contributor to deciding the face of the ruling party, the leader of the nation.
The immediate factors
● Repeal of farm laws: The Centre, on November 29, 2021, repealed the Farm Laws Bill, 2021 that had seen an uproar of protests from farmers in northern India for almost a year. Of these, the majority of the farmers were from Punjab, Haryana, and western UP. The anguish and resentment of these farmers are nowhere close to an end.
Thus, a state that adds so much value to the electoral system of India is likely not to afford an ongoing public dissatisfaction. But if the situation remains persistent, it will affect Indian politics at large.
● COVID crisis & its management: The gruesome situation of the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic is still afresh in everyone’s minds. The reported mismanagement of the ruling party in the state and at the Centre is subject to the questions and actions of people. That being said, the BJP in both positions faces a tough challenge contrary to any other party in UP.
The denial of the state government about the number of reported deaths during the second wave of the pandemic will also play a role in the elections. A combination of these accountability questions plays a noteworthy role in UP and Indian politics.
● Alternative for voters: In a democracy, the voter is paramount. The voters of UP, as a state of prominent political significance, are about to enter into an election with some inevitable fault-lines. The ones that surfaced in the past year are going to matter the most in the upcoming state and Parliamentary elections.
To do away with these faults on the state and central government’s end, they will have to provide the voters with reliable alternatives. Thus, the politics at the national level will depend a lot on the alternatives provided to the voters.
Also Read: Are Political Rallies Necessary in the Time of COVID-19?