The state of Uttar Pradesh sends 80 Members of Parliament (MP) to Lok Sabha (largest by any state, 15% of total Parliament strength) and is very crucial for govt. formation at the center. Uttarakhand was carved out of the state in 2000 and its seats reduced to 80 from 85.The state has produced majority of the Prime Ministers of India. 8 out of 13 PMs of India were MPs from UP namely Jawahar Lal Nehru (Phulpur), Lal Bahadur Shastri (Allahabad), Indira Gandhi (Rae Bareli), Charan Singh (Baghpat), Rajiv Gandhi (Amethi), V.P. Singh (Fatehpur), Chandrasekhar (Ballia) and Atal Bihari Vajpayee (Lucknow). No wonders Narendra Modi (BJP’s PM candidate) also wants to contest from UP (Varanasi).
UP used to be a Congress bastion till late mid 1980s with Jawahar Lal Nehru, Indira Gandhi, Rajiv Gandhi all MPs from the state. It was hijacked by Mandal movement in early 1990s by Janata Dal. The Ram Mandir movement made it a BJP stronghold in 1990 which propelled it to form govt at the center in 1998. Decline of Congress and in early 2000s even BJP in the state, led to emergence of two key state parties – Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and Samajwadi Party (SP) – built around a caste based cadre, BSP (Dalits) and SP (Muslims / Yadavs). BSP and SP (once allies) have been forming state govts. in the state for the past two decades. Ajit Singh’s Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) is another regional party which has a strong presence in western UP (among Jats) as his father & former PM was from this region. In a nutshell UP a Congress bastion (51 seats in 1980, 83 seats in 1984), became a BJP stronghold and is now dominated by SP and BSP.
BSP and SP have performed well in the last two elections and both Maya and Mulayam nurture PM ambitions (even though they have presence in just one state, dreadful indeed). The four cornered contest (Cong, BJP, SP, BSP) makes elections very interesting and difficult to predict. UP politics has become very caste based after Ram Mandir mudda evaporated from the scene.
2. Historical Results
|Janta Party (Secular)||0||0||0||0||0||0||29||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|Bhartiya Lok Dal||0||0||0||0||0||85||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
Source: Statistical Reports, Election Commission of India
3. Demographics of State
Hindus comprise of ~80% population while Muslims comprise of ~18-20%. OBCs ~40%, SC/ST ~20%, Brahmins & Thakurs ~20%.
4. 2009 Lok Sabha Elections
(i) Vote Pattern by Caste: In 2009, 73% of Yadavs voted for SP. Contrary to popular belief, Muslim votes were split evenly (SP 30%, Cong 25%, BSP 18%). Muslims tactically voted for the candidate best suited to defeat BJP. Upper caste votes were split between BJP and Congress. SP garnered 32% of Lodh votes courtesy Kalyan Singh (who supported SP in those elections). This hurt BJP whose vote share from the community shrank 24%. However, this factor also reduced SP’s Muslim vote share (-17%) from 2007 assembly elections as Kalyan Singh was the CM when Babri Masjid was demolished. BSP continued to enjoy Dalits support.
Source: CSDS-Lokniti preliminary results of the National Election Studies 2009.
(ii) Very Close Finish: 2009 Lok Sabha elections was very closely fought. In 30 out of 80 seats victory margin was <5% of total votes polled. SP won the Chandauli seat by a mere 500 votes. In 55 out of 80 seats, victory margin was <10% of total votes polled.
5. Projections for 2014
Kalyan Singh is back in BJP, poor handling of Muzaffarnagar riots, Modi’s OBC factor, plus the fact that Dalits voted enormously for BJP in state assembly elections recently (BJP won 67 / 71 reserved seats in 4 states in Dec. 2013) will all play for BJP. Modi fighting from Varansai will have a positive impact on 32 seats in Purvanchal and 16 seats in Avadh. All in all, BJP set to gain as per most opinion polls.
Congress seats set to decline due to anti incumbency and strong polarization. In 2009, Congress got 21 seats by a fluke (even they wouldn’t have imagined in their dreams). 13 of the 21 seats they won were at a thin margin of <10%. Minority will vote tactically to defeat BJP, but consolidation of Hindu votes will negate this factor. BJP was 2nd in 10 seats which it will taregt to win this time. All these seats were lost at a narrow margin of <10%.
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