UP bypolls present BJP with an opportunity to test its 80-nil plan for 2024

In Uttar Pradesh, the upcoming bypolls are going to be held for two Assembly seats and one Lok Sabha seat. This election will prove to be a litmus test for both the ruling BJP and principal Opposition parties like the Congress, Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and Samajwadi Party (SP).

The bypoll results will be help in deciding the political course of all parties before the Lok Sabha elections in Uttar Pradesh in 2024.

The two other seats where bypolls will be held on December 5 are Mainpuri Lok Sabha seat which fell vacant after the death of SP patriarch Mulayam Singh Yadav, and Rampur Sadar after the incumbent SP MLA Azam Khan was disqualified following his conviction in a 2019 hate speech case.

The BJP is under pressure to help retain the party membership of the MLA from the Khatauli Assembly constituency. According to political analysts, it is a battle of perception both for the BJP and the SP ahead of these bypolls for all the three seats.

As far as the Mainpuri Lok Sabha seat is concerned, Mulayam Singh Yadav’s family has been winning this seat for the last two-and-a-half decades. Keeping ‘Mission 2024’ Lok Sabha elections in mind, BJP has been working in those areas which are considered a stronghold of the Yadavs for a long time. For this reason, after first sending Harnath Singh Yadav from Etah to the Rajya Sabha, the saffron party made Subhash Yaduvansh the state party Yuva Morcha President. Then by making Yaduvansh an MLC, the BJP is trying to woo the Yadav votebank towards itself.

The BJP has set a target of winning 80 seats in the 2024 Lok Sabha elections. Since the 2022 state Assembly elections, the BJP is eyeing the SP’s core Yadav votebank.

After winning SP’s stronghold Azamgarh by fielding Dinesh Lal Yadav alias ‘Nirahua’ in 2022 Assembly elections, BJP has chalked out a strategy to help the party win in the Yadav belt in 2024 Lok Sabha elections as well.

On the death anniversary of Chaudhary Harmohan Singh Yadav, who was considered close to late Mulayam Singh Yadav, BJP wants to cut the Yadav votebank of the SP to size to fulfil its Mission 2024.

According to a senior BJP functionary, from Kanpur to Etawah, Kannauj, Farrukhabad, Firozabad and Agra, Chaudhary Harmohan Singh Yadav’s presence was strong duiring his regime. In the recent Assembly elections, an attempt was made to create an atmosphere in his favour by inducting Harmohan’s grandson Mohit Yadav into the BJP.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s virtually addressed people on the death anniversary of Harmohan Singh Yadav to send across a message to the Yadav community. Along with this, the BJP, which is trying to garner Yadav votes, has again included Girish Yadav as a Council of Minister, who won from the Jaunpur Assembly seat.

According to political analysts, after the defeat of the SP in the by-elections to the Azamgarh and Rampur Lok Sabha seats, the BJP is in a commanding position. Recently, the saffron party has again defeated the SP in the Gola Assembly seat. Now all eyes are on Mainpuri Lok Sabha and Rampur Assembly seats. In Mainpuri, the BJP’s attempt is to somehow polarise the non-Yadav and non-Muslim votes.

State BJP General Secretary (Organisation) Dharampal, along with taking the feedback of the party workers in Mainpuri, has asked them to speed up the election preparations with full force. The BJP knows that if it wins these bypolls, they will likely gain an upper hand till the 2024 Lok Sabha elections.

On the other hand, Mainpuri and Rampur have been the traditional seats of SP. Akhilesh has played a political masterstroke by fielding his wife Dimple Yadav from Mainpuri.

Akhilesh has played a political masterstroke to save the Yadav legacy and retain its core voters towards the SP. Rampur is the stronghold of Azam Khan. After the cancellation of his membership from there, the responsibility of the by-election is currently alone on his shoulders. According to SP sources, the veteran SP leader’s family member or confidante could contest the elections since Azam Khan has won multiple times as an MLA from here.

Now SP’s victory in upcoming bypolls has become a battle of prestige for Akhilesh Yadav. This is also because if the SP loses in Akhilesh’s bastion, it will be a personal loss for him. But if the BJP wrests the seat from SP, then it will be considered as a major poll victory for the saffron party.

A senior SP leader said that the party has entered the electoral fray in full force. Taking lessons from the results of the last by-elections, the SP National President is planning a strategy for Mainpuri and Rampur seats and will aggressively campaign there. SP leaders Tej Pratap and Dharmendra Yadav have been roped in to ensure Yadav family wins again.

Senior political analyst P.N. Dwivedi said that the by-elections on all three seats of Uttar Pradesh are important for the ruling and opposition parties. Its results will decide the course of the 2024 Lok Sabha elections. These by-elections will in a way prove to be a litmus test for all the parties, he added.

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