In the previous post we saw how Uttar Pradesh (UP) election is uncannily similar to Bihar polls and listed 10 similarities between them. In this post we will see how how UP elections despite being similar in some ways are starkly different.
1. Contest in UP is triangular (vs bipolar in Bihar)
In Bihar, the contest was bipolar between BJP led alliance and JDU led alliance. All the prominent parties joined either alliance. While HAM (Manjhi), LJP (Paswan) and RLSP (Kushwaha) joined NDA, Lalu led RJD and Congress joined hands with Nitish. The anti-BJP vote was not split.
In UP, as things stand today, the contest is triangular between BJP-SP-BSP. If SP splits, contest would become four cornered. Congress is a non entity and may join hands with Akhilesh led SP. This would ensure that the anti-BJP / anti-Modi vote is split between SP & BSP, giving it an advantage on paper. SP & BSP will also cut into votes of each other. This is very similar to situation in Assam where BJP won in a triangular contest with Congress and AIUDF.
The Index of Opposition Unity (IOU) is lower in UP compared to Bihar. Wherever it is high, there are bright chances of defeating BJP.
2. Alliance against BJP has not yet been finalized
The alliance between Lalu, Nitish and Congress was finalized in June 2015, four months before polls. The broad seat sharing arrangement (100-100-40) was agreed upon in August, two months ahead of polls. This gave the party workers sufficient time to explain the rationale of their tie up (Lalu-Nitish were at loggerheads for almost 15 years) and carry out joint campaigns.
In UP, till date the SP-Congress alliance has not been announced. The split between father and son has already caused enormous confusion and chaos in SP cadre. The uncertainty over alliance is not helping matters. Nomination process for Phase I starts in 3 days.
On the other hand, workers in Congress also unsure whether party will ally with Akhilesh. A section feels now its too late. Another section feels without Mulayam and cycle, Akhilesh not a potent force. How will workers who till recently where running a campaign ’27 saal UP behaal’, garner votes for a party which has ruled for more than half of these 27 years.
3. Nitish popularity ratings higher than Akhilesh
Nitish was ahead of rivals in leadership ratings since the beginning of polls. In UP, initially Maya was leading the polls, but now Akhilesh is ahead. Akhilesh ratings at 33% are much lower than Nitish which was at 40%+.
Though, Akhilesh is credited with good development, Nitish track record was much better. His tenure as CM was also longer, 10 years vs 5 years of Akhilesh.
Nitish was accredited with ending jungle raj, while in Akhilesh raj law and order has deteriorated. Maya is not far behind in ratings and in fact she is ahead of Akhilesh on law and order issue.
To sum up, though, UP election bears uncanny similarities to Bihar polls, it is the above three factors which could lead to a different outcome. How strongly these factors play out versus the similarities would in the end decide whether BJP ends up losing UP like Bihar or ends its vanvaas in the state. Stay tuned!
Image Credit: www.india.com