Zee Media Bureau/Manisha Singh
New Delhi: Narendra Modi`s rallies in Uttar Pradesh is running to packed houses. Needless to say it must be a source of immense joy to the Bharatiya Janata Party and party president Rajnath Singh. The reason for it is pretty simple. With eighty Parliamentary seats, the state of UP can make or break Modi`s Delhi dream.
If Modi`s Gorakhpur rally last month witnessed huge crowds, then his rally in Meerut on Sunday too had a large crowd, all jostling to hear him speak. Thus, if crowds are an indication of doing well at the polls, then BJP and Modi have all the reasons to be happy. However, the flip side of the coin is whether the crowds at these rallies will translate into votes. That is the big challenge that the BJP has to ponder upon and work towards. If the party has to do well at the hustings then it has to make sure that these people reach the booth and cast their vote.
In a couple of opinion polls that were done recently, the BJP emerged as doing well in UP and getting 40 or so seats. A fifty percent strike rate in the politically crucial and large state of UP should be music to the ears of the BJP. As per the surveys, BJP is also expected to do well in Bihar, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh. However, southern and eastern states will be a challenge to the party and it may not fare well there. This is precisely the reason why it is important for the party to do well in North India and especially in UP.
Modi realises this and that is perhaps the reason why he is giving a lot of attention to the state. He has left no stones unturned to woo the voters and has consciously made efforts to position the BJP as the only viable alternative to the Samajwadi Party, the BSP and the Congress. In his UP rallies, Modi has been scathing in his attacks on Mulayam Singh Yadav and the SP. He has taken them on over issues of development, law and order problem, unemployment and even riots. On the one hand Modi has challenged Mulayam to develop the Hindi heartland on the lines of Gujarat and on the other he has promised the electorate of UP a riot-free state if he is voted to power. The Gujarat CM has also been exhorting the people to rid the state of SP, BSP and the Congress and has promised them growth and overall development if the BJP comes to power at the Centre.
The government of Akhilesh Yadav has come under severe criticism in recent times for failing to control riots in Western Uttar Pradesh and also for its failure on law and order front. Critics say that the present regime is a reminder of SP`s last regime which had been dubbed as `goondaraj`. On the one hand Muslims are said to be disenchanted by the SP and on the other the Jat community are said to be veering towards the BJP. Moreover, the Congress is said to have been reduced to a fringe player in the state. The urban votes too which had gone to the Congress are said to be swinging back to the BJP, as per some surveys.
Nonetheless, a multi-cornered fight may see a division of vote shares. It is said, as per some calculations, that if the BJP manages to get around 30 percent of popular vote in UP then it may land up winning more than 50 seats in the state, which as of now seems a herculean task.
However, it is still couple of months since the General Elections and one cannot really predict as to what the outcome will be till the last vote is counted. But one thing is sure – If Narendra Modi has to become the next PM of India, then the BJP has to do well in UP, if not sweep it, at all costs.