Seeking re-election in UP this year, the BJP seems to be more desperate than ever to polarise the electorate along the Hindu-Muslim binary, while its nearest contender, the SP-RLD combine, seems to be stuck with the same old strategy of stitching together a favourable caste coalition. At the same time, the farmers’ agitation against the three controversial farm laws appears to be carrying considerable salience. The BJP government had to recall the laws, but whether this gesture will help the BJP in UP is one of the biggest look-outs in this election.
More than eight years after the gruesome massacre and displacement of 2013 in the Muzaffarnagar-Shamli regions of western UP, the BJP may be depending too much on their Plan A. Whether the wedge between Jats and Muslims still persists, or has been diluted by now, is poised to be an important factor in this election.