Lucknow Gup- UP Not Gujarat Model Now
BJP returns to rule
It is obvious that the BJP has made a home in the heart of the people of Uttar Pradesh (UP).
“Lagta hai BJP ne janta ke dil meiin ghar kar liya hai,” nodded an octogenarian voter who has witnessed many electoral victories but never as puzzling as this one.
The BJP has won 274 seats out of 403 in the recently concluded state assembly elections.
The victory has come despite the price of a cooking gas cylinder at Rs 994, and the skyrocketing prices of diesel, petrol and essential commodities including cooking oil.
The voters have favoured the BJP despite de-monetisation that has ruined the economy and despite millions of young people who are without jobs today. It is uncertain whether the government will give any job to youngsters in the future.
The people seem to have forgotten how frighteningly mismanaged the situation was in UP at the peak of the Covid pandemic.
The voters see the BJP as best equipped to find solutions to all the ills that fate has forced upon them like death, disease, hunger, poverty and unemployment.
“It is the BJP that gives me free rations twice a month. No other government has been so generous in the past,” Ram Lakhan, sweeper told The Citizen.
Somehow the BJP has earned the trust of the people. As if what god or fate proposes it is the BJP that will dispose in the end. Voters are not concerned with the absence of ethics and morality in public life. They do not see the BJP as the cause of any of their problems. On the contrary they feel that only the BJP can resolve their problems if not today, then tomorrow.
The image in the mind of the voter of the BJP leadership is that of selfless, corruption free workers of the state who want nothing for themselves, of for families they do not have. That their love for the nation has made them devote their life in service of the people!
They cheer when they hear BJP leaders say that dynastic politics is harmful, and that politicians belonging to non BJP parties have made themselves and their family members wealthy at the cost of the country.
Especially female voters say that the BJP takes better care of their security, and their need for rations than any other political party today.
Move over Gujarat, the UP model is now here to stay. The vote for the BJP is a clear mandate for a bulldozer style governance. It is a mandate to continue to consider vocabulary like secular, socialist and minorities worse than swear words.
The vote has given the BJP confidence that the people approve of its policies for a Hindu nation.
A lawyer in Lucknow feels that the mandate is bad news for the rule of law and wonders if the justice system will be able to save the law of the land?
The state may well become a model for politicians in other states to see their job as delivering only freebies to the people. The conclusion is that free rations and some salt is all that the people want in life and that there is no need for politicians to provide long term employment to the youth, or practice people-friendly policies in the field of education and health.
There is little concern over economic hardships and social discontent that may affect the people in future.
The victory of the BJP also raises questions if the party is steering the state in the right direction? Will constitutional democracy be undermined in the future? Will policies that seem so wrong to some be enforced in the name of the people now? Will the victors use the mandate of the people as an endorsement to continue with communal politics?
Similar questions are obviously not on the mind of those who have voted the BJP back in power. Musing over the results of the recent elections it seems as if the voter does not care for its own well-being.
As for the opposition parties, SP chief Akhilesh Yadav is the brave heart who took on the BJP, a ruling party that has no shortage of money-power and charismatic campaigners.
And he did a good job, but obviously not good enough!
Akhilesh Yadav is blamed for coming into the electoral fray a little too late to combat the BJP, a party that is in election mode all 24 hours.
The voter is totally put off by the politics practiced by the Congress.
“It is all in fits and start that the Congress flits in and out of Lucknow,” a voter complains. Voters in UP don’t like the idea that local Congress people are not groomed to take over the party. It is people mostly from Delhi who are imported to play politics in UP.
The opposition parties will be better off if they rise above electoral politics and practice politics every day. There is a desperate need for the opposition to strengthen its contact with voters, especially in the countryside where nearly 80 percent of the population lives. To learn from the BJP to be on its feet, playing politics every waking moment of its political life.
Congress supporters complain that the opposition parties have no strategy, no vision and no idea how to take the BJP and its determined agenda of a majoritarian state, head on.
The opposition parties have to learn how to make a home in the heart of voters!
Once upon a time BSP chief Mayawati was in the forefront of a creative social justice campaign. She stood for saving the Constitution and for a reservation policy for the poorest of the poor. Today she is absent from the arena despite the fact that her followers long to see her and to listen to her speak. In fact the country misses that Mayawati who had once fought ideological battles spiritedly. Today the silence of Mayawati is deafening.
As election results were being announced a visit to the fortified BSP headquarters in Lucknow on Thursday was met with a total lack of concern for the state of UP. The high gates painted in blue, the colour of the BSP were shut. A few security guards said that they were not sure when party workers or Mayawati would visit the premises again.
After being an influential player in the politics of UP for three decades, the BSP is reduced to the margins, witnessing its poorest performance ever. Mayawati’s near absence during the entire election campaign has left her supporters confused. Mayawati’s admirers feel orphaned today.
By not talking like she would in the past about the importance of social justice, Mayawati has allowed the BJP to get away with its corporate friendly agenda, regrets a political analyst.
Leaving blue flags to fly alone in the easterly breeze at the party headquarters with just a larger than life poster for company.
On the poster was printed a thank you to all the supporters of the BSP. That is all!
The regret is that the BSP’s silence only encourages politicians of the day to sweep away the policies of social justice into the gutter at a time when social justice is perhaps the only need of the state.