What next? UP’s 2017 polls?
Yes, economics attracts a few. But politics draws crowds. After the 5 Assembly polls gave the Congress much heart-burn and more crisis-ridden situation for the party, the other Opposition parties, mostly state level ones have started focusing on the next big battle.
That is the UP’s 2017 elections which will be the only poll before the ultimate test of the next general elections in 2019. The Indian scene, both the political and economic one is a mixed bag. The 2 years of Modi government hasn’t given much enthusiasm at the grassroots.
So, we find the Finance Minister, Arun Jaitley saying in a latest interview (The Hindu, May 27, 2016) that his government’s priorities next would be rural areas. There would be, in his own words, “huge amount of spending and development in those areas” and then words and words he is capable of assembling! This is a bit impolite readers might think but then political reality is often unnerving for those who stay in power and speak out. See what he says in the same breath:”The steps we have taken on social secure should then swell into a much larger social security package for the weaker sections”.
Yes, words and words and more words! This is really politics then!
There is the continuing drought in large parts and no one can say that people as a whole are feeling elated by Modi’s big projects, big talk and much hype. All the big talk reduces itself ultimately how much comfort level the lower levels of society feels. Each state has its own local leaders.
Besides TN, the big state leaders who can give a fight for Modi is the Bihar duo, both Lalu Yadav and Nitish Kumar. In UP is the veteran, Mulayam Singh Yadav who, as his past moves and counter moves show that he is still a factor to reckon with whoever tries to eye for the big prize in Delhi.
So, all eyes are now turned to UP where in 2014, the BJP played a trick, bagged 71 Mps out of 80. So, this time the Assembly elections would see a fight, direct between the SP and the BJP. But then there are other players. Mayawathi is also a big factor; her vote bank can tilt the fortunes.
In the midst of these uncertainties, there is the young CM, Akilesh Yadav who says he would be a match to the BJP’s aspirations to unseat him. The whole exercise of the second year celebration was focused in Western UP, Modi spoke at Saharanpur and so too others.
In UP who would be projected as the CM candidate?
The BJP is in a dilemma.Though the Congress is down and out as far as the UP is concerned there is much speculation in the BJP circles where they expect or even fear the projection of Priyanka Gandhi as the CM face.
That is why there is so much enmity between the two parties. Smriti Irani too visited Amerthi and also talked in a way that, observers suspect, she might be projected as the CM face.
Or, there is talk about what the roles the BSP party would play in the UP election scenario. Mayawati is not keeping quiet and she had already fired her first salvo saying that the BJP didn’t bring the Ache din and the BJP’s “big boasts” didn’t bring changes on the ground. The two parties dubbed Mr.Modi’s tenure a disappointment and his government lost its sheen since 2014.
Of course the BSP and the SP are the two serious contenders for power in the crucial UP state. So, we have to take their criticisms with a pinch of salt. Mayawati is a former Chief Minister and she is a formidable force even now, given the socio-economic scenario of the UP. She charges the first year of Modi as “anti-farmer”, the second year as discrimination and atrocity against the Muslims and also as serving the interests of a “handful of corporates”. In fact, she had gone far and given a series of criticisms, like “insensitivity” to those affected by the drought.
She has warned the BJP to learn lessons from the Vajpayee government’s India Shining project, as she has pointed out how much lavish spending the BJP of Modi spent on the second anniversary. The AAP we might dismiss but for Mayawati, she has promised herself not to spend more money on parks and memorials and also contrasted with her promise with the grand promised of the BJP government.
The ruling SP government also did not spare the BJP g for its insensitive spending spree and also for showing great insensitivity to the drought hit poor and the farmers in the state.
The SP has also pointed out the assault on India’s secularism has dented the Modi government image abroad. There is much more in both the BSP and SP charges. They had dwelt at length on the anti-minority activities of the BJP and also communal politics.
The rise of religious fundamentalism is also touched by both the parties. SP cabinet minister and spokesperson, Rajendra Chaudhary too dwelt at length the failures of the Modi government. Though many new projects were launched “there was no progress on the ground” BJP’s splurging on grand celebrations, the estimates by the AAP and the Congress too is something like Rs.1, 000 crores!
Considering the pitch given to his speech at the celebration by the Prime Minister, he seems keen to be taken seriously by his high pitch.
There was no restraint in his claims on several fronts, including on the foreign policy front.
So, I look the battle for the UP elections are the only theme right at this very distance of time.
So, we can expect the BJP’ whole orchestration of the two year celebration is not much more than the 2017 UP Assembly elections only. Not much beyond it. A great pity, how our political horizons have all descended to power and capturing power only.