The previous assembly election marked the first time that the state witnessed strong support for one party. In a landslide victory, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) won 312 of the 403 seats and came to power after nearly 15 years. Following the win, Yogi Adityanath was sworn in as Uttar Pradesh’s chief minister by the BJP’s parliamentary board.
Political parties are already exercising their muscles for the next Uttar Pradesh (UP) assembly election in 2022, organising their cadres and leadership within the state.
Leaders of the Janata Dal (United), Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD), Lok Janshakti Party (LJP), Hindustani Awam Morcha (Secular), and Vikassheel Insaan Party (VIP) have already started with meetings in various districts of Uttar Pradesh to mobilise party workers for the next assembly election. Meanwhile, the BJP, Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), and the Samajwadi Party (SP), the three major competitors in Uttar Pradesh, along with a trailing Congress, have already started to form alliances with smaller parties. Here is what all the parties are doing to woo votes in their favour.
Bharatiya Janata Party
The BJP and JD(U) are expected to campaign jointly. A formal agreement is expected to be signed soon between the two parties. According to the Tribune, JD(U) leaders met with Home Minister Amit Shah, BJP leader J.P. Nadda, and UP CM Yogi Adityanath to ask about a potential alliance between the two parties for the election. The JD(U) maintains that it has considerable influence on at least two dozen seats near the Bihar border. In the past, the JD(U) has declared that it will contest 200 seats in UP, if it is not allied with the BJP.
Meanwhile, according to the Hindustan Times, CM Yogi Adityanath met with Hindustani Awam Morcha (Secular) leader, Santosh Suman Manjhi. As per reports, the HAM(S) has decided to join hands with the BJP to contest in the UP assembly election.
HAM(S) is a constituent of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA), led by former Bihar chief minister, Jitan Ram Manjhi. According to BJP sources, the party hopes to gain traction with Dalits as Mayawati’s BSP loses ground in UP. Ramdas Athawale, chief of the Republican Party of India (Athawale), as well as Santosh Manjhi, have met with BJP officials and CM Yogi Adityanath to express their intentions to run in the election.
The BJP’s top brass imposed a condition on the two parties: rally the Dalits to the BJP’s cause. If satisfied, the party will account for them in seat-sharing negotiations. Ramdas Athawale has scheduled a Bahujan Samaj Kalyan Yatra that will run from September 26 to December 18. It will culminate in a rally at Ambedkar Park in Lucknow, which will be addressed by J.P. Nadda and Adityanath, along with Athawale.
Vikassheel Insaan Party’s Mukesh Sahni, also a Bihar minister, is another NDA supporter planning to run in the UP polls.
The head of the coalition Suheldev Bharatiya Samaj Party (SBSP), Om Prakash Rajbhar stated that his party will join with the BJP if it chooses a backward caste leader as its chief minister candidate for next year’s assembly polls. He made the statement after meeting with Swatantra Dev Singh and Dayashankar Singh, who were previously allies of the BJP. He first described the encounter as a “courtesy call”, originally stating that the prospects of forming an alliance with the BJP are “negligible”. He threatened to “root out” the party from the state in the next election. However, Rajbhar has hinted at a possible alliance with the incumbent party, and BJP leader Dayashankar Singh has intimated that the two parties will run together in the 2022 election. Rajbhar, who recently founded the Bhagidari Sankalp Morcha as a political front for minor parties led by the SBSP, stated that the BJP is “keen to forge an alliance” with the party.
On the other hand, however, the SBSP has formed an alliance with the All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul-Muslimeen (AIMIM). The AIMIM president Asaduddin Owaisi said that as alliance partners, they will run in the assembly election alongside the Om Prakash Rajbhar-led SBSP and the Bhagidaari Sankalp Morcha. Having achieved good results in the Bihar Assembly polls, the AIMIM and its allies announced that they will seek to contest 100 seats in the Uttar Pradesh assembly election. The Hyderabad MP announced that his party will contest the polls on Twitter, in Hindi. Owaisi usually tweets on the social media platform in English.
After launching the Bhagidari Sankalp Morcha, the SBSP chief had said that it would contest the 2022 assembly polls and that the doors of the front were open for the SP, BSP and the Congress.
The national president of Apna Dal (Sonelal) and the Minister of State for Commerce and Industry, Anupriya Patel stated that Apna Dal (S) and BJP showed strong signs of an alliance. Both political parties have contested together in past elections in 2014, 2017 and 2019, and this alliance will likely continue into 2022.
During a two-day Jan Ashirwad Yatra in Prayagraj, Patel showcased the achievements and policies of the central government, which was seen as a formal beginning of the UP election campaign. According to Patel, her party’s agenda includes issues such as setting up a ministry for backward classes, taking a caste-based census, and creating a nationwide judicial service. Patel claims that these steps will not harm anyone’s interests as these are social justice issues. She added that everyone would have equal rights and opportunities.
Bahujan Samaj Party
BSP supremo, Mayawati has set herself a daunting task in the assembly election of 2022 in Uttar Pradesh. On the occasion of her 65th birthday, she declared that her party would not cobble up an alliance for the upcoming state polls in UP and Uttarakhand. The BSP has been performing very poorly. From 206 seats in 2007, the party dropped to 80 seats in 2012, and 19 seats in 2017. The party will have to fight the 2022 election on a do-or-die basis. In preparation for the UP assembly election, the party has been aggressively hitting out at the ruling BJP, the Congress, as well as the SP – a partner during the 2019 Lok Sabha election. The BSP appears to be trying to emphasise its status as a potential leading contender in the upcoming polls.
According to the Times of India, Mayawati has asserted that the party will create an independent government in Uttar Pradesh next year like it did in 2007. The BSP fielded candidates on all 403 seats in the Uttar Pradesh assembly in 2007, winning a majority with 30.43 percent votes and 206 seats. The SP candidates contested on 393 seats, winning 97, i.e. 25.43 percent of the votes cast. The BJP had won only 51 seats, i.e. 16.97 percent of the votes.
Mayawati claims the BSP must come to power alone once again. For that, the party will have to cover a lot of ground. It received 22.2 percent votes in 2017 compared to the 40 percent received by the BJP. Mayawati has always run independently in all UP assembly elections. The BSP has not allied itself with any party for the last few assembly elections in any state. Unlike the earlier few elections, where it was a major player, the BSP will have to work harder on the ground to garner the vote share it needs to win a majority.
SP head, Akhilesh Yadav has pledged that the party’s doors are open to all “small parties”, according to the Hindustan Times. As per the National Herald, Akhilesh changed his mind after the Bihar result, where smaller parties played an important role. Yadav has resumed his tour of the state ahead of the polls. The backward class cell of the party had also held a ‘pichhdha varg sammelan‘ in different districts of the state on August 9 (August Kranti Diwas).
Yadav has claimed that he will secure 350 seats in the next assembly election, a figure he called “realistic”. The SP has declared that the party and its ally, Mahan Dal, will come back in power in Uttar Pradesh in 2022, by winning 400 seats. For Yadav, the key electoral concerns are youth, development, and the welfare of all parts of society.
On the other hand, there is speculation of a new coalition between the RJD and SP, following a meeting attended by RJD chief Lalu Prasad Yadav, SP patriarch Mulayam Singh Yadav, and SP chief Akhilesh Yadav in Delhi. The RJD had backed the SP during the 2019 Lok Sabha election. According to an anonymous RJD politician, Tejashwi Yadav, the leader of opposition in the Bihar assembly and RJD leader, will campaign in favour of the SP for the UP assembly election.
Aam Aadmi Party
The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) will be contesting on all 403 seats in the Uttar Pradesh Assembly election next year on its own strength, according to the party’s Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Singh. Singh, who is also the AAP’s Uttar Pradesh in-charge, said that the names of the candidates will be declared in the next 15 days. As of now, a list of 120 candidates is ready, he said.
As part of its agenda, the AAP states that it will expose the “fake nationalism” of the BJP, and showcase the “real nationalism” of the AAP. The party has planned to take out “Tiranga Yatras” in all the assembly constituencies of the state.
The Congress is relying on the leadership of Priyanka Gandhi Vadra. The party has formed the Uttar Pradesh election committee, which comprises state unit president Ajay Kumar Lallu as well as former union ministers Salman Khurshid, Rajeev Shukla, and R.P.N. Singh. According to Money Control, the Congress is making a comeback in the state after more than three decades. It was stated that party officials in the state are urging Priyanka Gandhi to run as the state’s chief ministerial candidate in the next election.
Although the Congress raises the problems at the party level, the party high command isn’t going out in the open and conducting a campaign against the government’s wrongdoings. CM Adityanath, on the other hand, interacts with the people on a daily basis and listens to what they have to say to him. Connecting with the people is crucial to winning the election, and the BJP has already made a name for itself as a people’s party.
A party with about 30 percent of the vote would have won a majority in the past. The BJP, however, pushed this to about 40 percent in 2017, which makes it difficult for the upcoming coalition to bridge the gap. Same goes for the BJP.