Can Maya pass vote-bank test? It holds key to 8 seats
Out of the 8 Lok Sabha seats going to polls on April 18 in Uttar Pradesh, 4 are reserved for SCs.
That’s because it will be mainly a battle for Dalit votes, Mayawati’s traditional support base. Of the eight seats, four are reserved for SCs. In 2014, BJP won all eight, including the reserved ones — Nagina, Aligarh, Hathras and Agra.
This time, however, backed by the combined forces of the gathbandhan, Mayawati has fielded candidates in six of the eight seats, including Nagina, Bulandshahr and Agra.
Observers foresee a tough fight between BJP and BSP.SP has fielded just one candidate, Ramji Lal Suman in Hathras, in this phase and will bank on transfer of Dalit votes from BSP. The eight seats have a significant population of Dalits, Jats, Gujjars and Muslims. Dalits and Muslim comprise between 40% and 50% of the population in Nagina, Amroha, Aligarh and Agra. Bulandshahr, Hathras, Mathura and Fatehpur have a substantial Jat and Gujjar.
In 2014, BJP banked heavily on the consolidation of Dalits, Jats and Gujjars, especially after the 2013 Muzaffarnagar riots. This time, the communal sentiment has waned despite CM Yogi Adityanath raking up the riots during campaigning. The gathbandhan has, meanwhile, been consolidating its Dalit and Muslim vote banks to stop the saffron juggernaut. Aware that it faces a formidable rival this time, BJP has replaced two MPs in reserved seats.
The second phase will also show how non-Dalit votes transfer to gathbandhan partners SP and BSP. “The transfer of non-Dalit votes is a determining factor in reserved seats,” said Badri Narayan of Govind Vallabh Pant Institute of Social Sciences.
The battle will be intense between BJP and BSP on some of the non-reserved seats, including Amroha and Aligarh, which has a significant Muslim population.