LUCKNOW: With 11 Assembly seats going to polls in
on October 21, the byelections will set the stage for what could be the last big electoral battle ahead of the Assembly elections of 2022.
With a multi-cornered contest – with the Opposition no more in a gathbandhan – in the offing with BJP, Samajwadi Party, Bahujan Samaj Party and Congress fighting on their own might, the bypolls will draw the contours of the future political battle.
The BJP, though, is comfortable in the state and the outcome of these bypolls will not impact the party that has 312 MLAs in the 403-seatstrong Assembly, supported by Apna Dal’s six.
BJP, however, is working aggressively to mop up maximum seats to keep up its winning streak, kicked off since 2014 and continued in 2017 and consolidated again in 2019.
The BJP leadership will do its best to retain all nine out of 11 seats and wrest others from the Opposition camp to reiterate its invincibility. As of now, barring two — Jalalabad in Ambedkar Nagar and Rampur seats — the ruling BJP has the remaining nine its kitty.
The by-elections will witness a multi-cornered contest which would work to the advantage of the BJP as was seen in the recent Hamipur byelections, where SP- BSP’s combined votes would have easily defeated the ruling party candidate.
For the Samajwadi Party and its chief Akhilesh Yadav, the semi- final is a major challenge and an opportunity to bounce back on the state’s centrestage and restablish SP as a formidable force.
Byelections will be a major test for BSP, Cong leadershipsThe Hamirpur byelections, in which the SP stood second, only 15,000 votes behind the winning BJP candidate, it emerged as the second choice after the BJP or first choice in the anti-BJP camp, as the BSP struggled to be far third and Congress among the also-rans.
The byelections will be a major test for the BSP leadership too. The BSP has made sudden changes in favour of the Modi-led government –from supporting triple talaq Bill to abrogation of Article
370. Now, it needs to be seen how it takes on the BJP to make its presence felt.
For the Congress, out of power in the state for over 30 years since 1989 and its performance on a continuous slide, the byelections could be another nightmare if it does not pull out new tricks from the old hat.
The complete overhaul of the organisation, a new UPCC president Ajay Kumar Lallu, in place and AICC general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra’s keen interest in the state Congress and her decision to camp in Lucknow, may give some energy and hope to the party in the days to come.