Why BJP needs to rework its caste arithmetic in Uttar Pradesh

Amit Pandey
Amit PandeyMar 19, 2018 | 14:44

Why BJP needs to rework its caste arithmetic in Uttar Pradesh

The saffron surge that started after BJP's big win in the Northeast Assembly elections was stopped with the party's defeat in Phulpur and Gorakhpur by-polls.

The joy of the Tripura win has been overshadowed with the loss of the two VIP seats in Uttar Pradesh - Gorakhpur was chief minister Yogi Aditynath's Lok Sabh constituency, and Phulpur was deputy CM Keshav Prasad Maurya's seat.



The twin losses are proof that it is time for BJP to introspect and take note of the writing on the wall. While the party has lost both important constituencies, the bigger headache for it is the Samajwadi Party-Bahujan Samaj Party alliance building up for the Kairana by-polls.

Urban relief

While the party lost Phulpur and Gorakhpur, it can find solace in the fact that the party still enjoys a stronghold in the urban areas.

Gorakhpur and Phulpur Lok Sabha seats consist of three urban Assembly constituencies. Gorakhpur Urban in Gorakhpur and Allahabad North and West in Phulpur are urban seats.

A total of 90,313 votes were cast in favour of the BJP in Gorakhpur urban seat, while Samajwadi Party bagged 24,577 votes. Similarly, in Allahabad North, the BJP got 43,999 votes against SP's 38,346. In Allahabad West, the BJP received 53,330 votes and SP got 33,354 votes.

BJP also led in the semi-urban seat of Pipraich in Gorakhpur. This voting pattern is a sign of relief for the BJP that loyal urban voters are still with the party. Low voting turnout in two seats is also a balm to the wound of the BJP.


While the media has quickly jumped the gun linking the loss to the mood before the 2019 general elections, history tells us that this assessment is too premature.


Among the 35 by-elections that have taken place between 1962 and 2014 in Uttar Pradesh, only 11 results (31.4 per cent) matched the party that won the following general elections. Why SP-BSP alliance is worrisome for BJP?

If the SP and BSP decide to to contest Kairana by-poll together, BJP could be in trouble.

In the 2014 Lok Sabha election, the SP bagged five seats while the BSP was unable to open its account. Similarly, in the UP Assembly election, SP bagged 47seats and BSP 19 seats. But this picture could have been different if these parties had decided to form an alliance in advance. An analysis of constituency-wise data of the 2017 Assembly election shows that the BJP may lose 50 Lok Sabha seats in Uttar Pradesh if the SP and BSP votes are combined.

As per the 2017 UP Assembly election results, the Opposition SP-BSP on an average have a lead of 1.45 lakh votes across 57 Lok Sabha seats. On the other side, BJP average lead across 23 seats which it can win is 58,000 votes.


A possible SP-BSP alliance will bring more sleepless nights for the BJP. The party needs to rework its caste combinations quickly.

Last updated: March 19, 2018 | 14:44
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