PM Modi To Flag Off BJP's Uttar Pradesh Campaign From Meerut On March 30

New Delhi:

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will flag off the BJP campaign in Uttar Pradesh — the state that accounts for 80 Lok Sabha seats — on March 30 with a mega rally in Meerut. The candidate is Arun Govil, the actor who played Ram in Ramanand Sagar’s Ramayan in the 80s, encapsulating a messagev on the Ayodhya temple, which was inaugurated earlier this year.

Uttar Pradesh, a single state that accounts for the largest number of Lok Sabha seats, is crucial to the BJP’s plans to win 370 seats — the target set by the Prime Minister. The party knows it needs a bigger push in the state if it has to surpass its score of the two earlier elections.

In 2014, the BJP won 71 seats in the state. Five years on, in 2019, the figure shrunk to 62, owing to the alliance between the two regional giants — Akhilesh Yadav’s Samajwadi Party and Mayawati’s Bahujan Samaj Party.  In a  handful of seats, the party had just managed to scrape through , with a margin of a couple of thousand votes.  

The BJP is hoping for a better show this time, especially after delivering on its promise to build and inaugurate the Ram temple in Ayodhya.
What also buoys their morale is that the SP-BSP alliance is now history. While Akhilesh Yadav is with the Opposition bloc India, Mayawati is going it alone in this election.

The party also has high hopes from western Uttar Pradesh, a region where they had not done so well last time. In 2014, the BJP had won 24 of the 27 seats in this area. But that number slid by five seats in 2019 — all eight seats went to the SP-BSP combine.

This time, then BJP hopes rest on the alliance with Jayant Chaudhary’s Rashtriya Lok Dal.  The RLD has a significant presence among the Jats in the area — who comprise 18 per cent of the state’s people. Even though the RLD is contesting 2 seats in the state this time, they are expected to add to the BJP voteshare in western UP.  

The rest of the BJP’s allies in the state include the ADS and the Nishad Party, which have clout among various caste groups.

On the downside, Shivpal Yadav, Akhilesh Yadav’s uncle who had walked out of the SP ahead of the 2019 polls and helped the BJP win several seats by eating inti SP votes, has patched up with the family now.

The rapprochement could make the BJP’s task difficult in several seats including Kannauj, where Akhilesh Yadav’s wife Dimple Yadav lost to the BJP in 2019.

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