Bua Bhatija Alliance
SP, BSP getting together could spell serious trouble for BJP in UP
In a significant development for the 2019 Lok Sabha elections SP and BSP have confirmed their alliance in Uttar Pradesh, declaring they will contest 38 seats each in the state. Interestingly, while Congress isn’t part of the alliance, the two regional heavyweights have decided not to contest the Amethi and Rae Bareli seats held by Congress president Rahul Gandhi and Sonia Gandhi respectively.
This indicates that the door might still be open for Congress to join up with SP and BSP in a post-poll arrangement should the opportunity or necessity arise. Plus, it is also likely that a pre-poll tie up with Congress would see SP and BSP votes being transferred to the Grand Old Party but not the other way around. However, the SP-BSP combine’s main target is BJP. The latter had won a whopping 71 out of 80 seats in UP in 2014, which played a critical role in BJP retaining the capability of forming a majority government on its own. But the SP-BSP alliance is projected to be a big challenge even for the BJP juggernaut. For, should BSP hold on to its Dalit vote base and SP retain a sizeable chunk of Yadavs and OBCs, it could spell serious trouble for BJP in the Hindi heartland.
Plus, the alliance will also ensure that unlike 2014 Muslim votes won’t split to the advantage of BJP. In fact, in the 2017 UP assembly polls SP and BSP had both won 22% vote share. If they are able to poll similar numbers again, it would be a game changer. In a first-past-the-post system it could mean a big drop in seats for BJP in an election where every seat change will impact the complexion of the future Union government.
But these are Lok Sabha polls and BJP will also be putting its best foot forward. Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s forceful campaigning could upset opposition calculations yet again. Besides, notwithstanding the opposition’s success in recent assembly polls and bypolls earlier, voters could make a distinction in their state-level and national-level choices. Nonetheless, the SP-BSP tie up does provide a solid pillar for the opposition’s mahagathbandhan plans across the country. And as Mayawati has suggested, this alliance in the bellwether state – building on anti-incumbency at both central and state levels – should give the Modi-Shah combine some sleepless nights.