ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Failure of the Mahagathbandhan

In the Lok Sabha elections of 2019 in Uttar Pradesh, the contest was keenly watched as the alliance of the Samajwadi Party, Bahujan Samaj Party, and Rashtriya Lok Dal took on the challenge against the domination of the Bharatiya Janata Party. What contributed to the continued good performance of the BJP and the inability of the alliance to assert its presence is the focus of analysis here.

In the last decade, politics in Uttar Pradesh (UP) has seen radical shifts. The Lok Sabha elections 2009 saw the Congress’s comeback in UP. It gained votes in all subregions of UP and also registered a sizeable increase in vote share among all social groups. The 2012 assembly elections gave a big victory to the Samajwadi Party (SP) when it was able to get votes beyond its traditional voters: Muslims and Other Backward Classes (OBCs). The 2014 Lok Sabha elections saw the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) winning 73 seats with its ally Apna Dal. It was facilitated by the consolidation of voters cutting across caste and class, in favour of the party. Riding on the popularity of Narendra Modi, the BJP was able to trounce the regional parties and emerge victorious in the 2017 assembly elections as well. But, against the backdrop of anti-incumbency, an indifferent economic record, and with the coming together of the regional parties, it was generally believed that the BJP would not be able to replicate its success in 2019.

However, the BJP’s performance in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections shows its continued domination over the politics of UP. Even though a socially and politically formidable and arithmetically balanced alliance of the SP, Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), and Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) was pitted against the BJP, the latter was able to win 62 seats, and its ally Apna Dal won two seats out of the 80 seats in the state. Although the number of seats secured by the BJP and its alliance partner in UP has gone down by nine seats in 2019, its vote share increased by over 7 percentage points as compared to 2014. While the SP vote share dropped by 4 percentage points and the BSP was more or less where it was in 2014, they both made only marginal gains in terms of seats.

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Updated On : 2nd Aug, 2019
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