Reserved for success in UP elections – The New Indian Express


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LUCKNOW: Legislative elections in the country’s most politically important state are approaching. Parties of all stripes are trying to make their presence felt in pockets of strategic importance. A glance at election data from previous years reveals a trend. The reserved seats – 86 out of 403 this time – more or less determine who forms the government of Uttar Pradesh.

If we analyze the performance of political actors in legislative elections since 2002, it appears that the one who came to power won at least 60% of these seats reserved for listed castes (84) and listed tribes (2). No wonder they are again doing their best to achieve the appropriate caste balance in these seats.

While the BJP added voters from non-Jatav listed castes to its bank and reaped profits in the 2014, 2019 Lok Sabha and 2017 elections, the Samajwadi party appears to have been redesigned after a crushing defeat in 2017. Known as a party dependent on ‘MY’ (Muslim-Yadav) to win the elections, the Samajwadis have made alliances with a number of small caste groups to issue a more robust challenge to the ruling Saffron party.

The Bahujan Samaj party, on the other hand, is banking on the support of Jatav voters and trying to revive its old social engineering formula of combining “SC-Muslim-Brahmin-Jat” voters to return to power. But it is a difficult task, given that BSP does not currently enjoy the support of prominent leaders of these castes. “BSP believes that if any of these caste groups offer full support, they will pass,” said Professor SK Dwivedi, a leading political scientist.

The SC equation is crucial because of their significant presence in the population of UP. “The listed castes form a considerable part of the population, around 21%. They have the figures to make or spoil the fortunes of the political parties which are still engaged in a fight to win this bank of votes, ”explains Professor AK Mishra, another renowned political scientist.

In 2002, the BJP and BSP came together to form the government, but failed to meet the challenges of the alliance and collapsed in 2003. SP Patriarch Mulayam Singh Yadav rushed to fill the void and succeeded as CM to lead the government until 2007. In 2002, there were 89 reserved seats, of which the BJP won 35 and the BSP 24. On their own, they had 59, or about 66% of the total reserved seats. In 2007, the number of reserved seats remained the same as BSP won 61 and formed the government. The scenario remained the same in 2012 and 2017.

For the 2017 election, two seats were first reserved for List Tribes following an order from the Supreme Court. The two seats were in Sonebhadra, the state’s only tribal district. Riding a strong Modi wave, the BJP won 70 of the 86 reserved seats – 69 SC and one ST – thus accounting for 81.3% of the reserved seats.

Significantly, in 2017, BJP allies Apna Dal and Suheldev Bharatiya Samaj Party (SBSP) each won three reserved seats. SP only won seven, BSP two and Nirdaliya one. While Apna Dal won two SC seats and one ST seat, SBSP won three SC seats. So, effectively, the BJP-led NDA was in power in 76 of the 86 reserved seats – 88%. ”Mishra added.

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