Sunday, Aug 14, 2022
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UP Election Results: BJP Retains UP But Samajwadi Party Has Made Real Gains

SP studied the dynamics of each constituency and fielded strong candidates. It tried a lot to secure all non-Yadav OBC votes, which did work for them, to an extent.

Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav addressing a poll campaign rally
Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav addressing a poll campaign rally PTI

It is almost clear that the Bharatiya Janata Party is winning in Uttar Pradesh. But one can’t ignore the fact that the principal opposition of saffron in Uttar Pradesh, the Samajwadi Party, has performed well. 

As per trends, they are ahead on over 130 seats. This is a drastic improvement over the 2017 election results, when they won just 49 out of 224 seats in 2012. They benefited from alliances with parties like–Rashtriya Lok Dal, a party led by Jayant Chaudhary. RLD is leading on at least eight seats in western UP where BJP won 53 seats out of 58 in 2017. RLD revived itself after defeat in the last election. Till afternoon RLD was leading on eight seats, while in 2017, it shrank to one seat from nine seats it had won in 2012. Sympathy votes, after the death of Ajit Choudhary also favoured Rashtriya Lok Dal. 

Samajwadi Party had made this battle a two-party battle – between them and BJP. If part of SP's strategy, party chief Akhilesh Yadav tried to make allies out of the regional players which worked against SP in the 2017 election. For instance, an alliance with OP Rajbhar, to secure Rajbhar votes in Purvanchal, and with another Mahan Dal, also including Swami Prashad Maurya, to secure Maurya and Kushwaha votes. Dara Singh Chauhan was also brought into the fold to attract votes of the lonia caste. SP tried a lot to secure all non-Yadav OBC votes, which did work for them, to an extent.

The fact that SP did well can be gauged by vote share trends. By afternoon, their vote share was around 32 per cent, which rose by 15 per cent from the 2017 election. On key constituencies, like Sirathu from where the Deputy CM in Yogi government, Keshav Prashad Maurya, contested, has lost to Pallavi Patel of Apna Dal (Kamerawadi), who contested on an SP symbol. It shows how SP managed the dynamics of each constituency and fielded strong candidates.

There were apprehensions that Azam Khan would not be able to contest, but he not only contested but is also leading with a good margin in Rampur Vidhan Sabha. His son, Abdullah Azam Khan, who contested from Suar Vidhan Sabha, too is leading. A wave of sympathy votes favoured him.

SP studied the dynamics of each constituency. For instance, it gave a ticket in Mubarakpur constituency to a person named Akhilesh Yadav, instead of two-time (2012, 2017) MLA Shah Alam from this constituency, who reportedly asked for a ticket from there. Mubarakpur is a Muslim dominated constituency, despite Yadav leading from there.

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