New Delhi: Amongst the biggest unravellings of this election has been the fizzling out of the SP-BSP gathbandhan in Uttar Pradesh, which was supposed to be the one alliance which could prevent Narendra Modi’s march to the Lok Sabha. The two parties had come together for the first time after 1993 when they had managed to keep the BJP at bay in the aftermath of the Babri Masjid demolition.
Buoyed by a similar experiment in the three Lok Sabha bypolls of Gorakhpur, Kairana and Phulpur, the SP-BSP-RLD alliance was supposed to be the magic wand which would take away at least 40 seats from the BJP’s kitty. Uttar Pradesh has 80 Lok Sabha seats.
In the general elections, however, it is evident that the Yadav and Jatav votes were not transferred seamlessly at the ground level despite joint rallies by the top leaders of the two parties.
The Gathbandhan could made only a miniscule dent, winning just 21 seats and the BJP winning more than 60.
As far as ground politics goes, the one reason which could have been attributed is the Congress fielding separate candidates in at least more than 30 seats. The Congress won Rae Bareli, which is the constituency of former UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi. Congress president Rahul Gandhi was decimated by Union minister Smriti Irani in the other Gandhi family bastion of Amethi. In hindsight, Mr Gandhi’s decision to contest from Wayanad was a wise one afterall.
Officially, the Congress has maintained that they have cut into the Bharatiya Janata Party’s upper caste votes and thus helped the SP-BSP in pockets. Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi had hinted at so when she said that the Congress had deliberately fielded weak candidates in certain pockets.
However, what can be safely be assumed now is that the Grand Old Party of India has actually done was to wean away at a large chunk of the Muslim votes from the SP-BSP kitty, thus helping the Bharatiya Janata Party surge ahead.
Delhi chief minister and Aam Aadmi Party chief Arvind Kejriwal had hinted the same when he had said that towards the end, the entire Muslim votebank had shifted to the Congress.
The Congress has itself maintained that what it aimed at was strengthening its organisation and the 2022 Assembly polls were its real target. Another important factor is the zero seats won by the Rashtriya Lok Dal.
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